Diet & Nutrition

More young girls contracting chlamydia than flu

Did you know more Australians contracted chlamydia than the flu last year? Emily Brooks investigates.

By Emily Brooks
Troubling statistics show more Australian's are contracting chlamydia than influenza.
In fact, in Western Australia more girls aged 10-14 were diagnosed with chlamydia than the flu in 2014.
And around the nation, there were almost 700 reported cases of chlamydia in Australian adolescents aged under 15, according to the latest report released this month from The Kirby Institute for infection and immunity in society at the University of NSW.
“The average age for sex in Australia is 16 years so you are going to get some kids having sex before then and some having sex after,” Professor Rebecca Guy from The Kirby Institute tells The Weekly Online.
Professor Guy says most of the adolescents who contracted chlamydia were closer to 14, than 10 years old.
In fact, she says it is the teenagers between 15 and 19 who are most affected by the sexually transmitted infection (STI) with almost 19,000 reported to have contracted the chlamydia last year.
“There are around 250,000 infections in Australia, however, because only a small proportion of young people get tested we only get about 86,000 of reported infections,” she says.
“So what that means is of all the young people in Australia, only about 26 per cent of those get tested and diagnosed.”
And while many cases go undiagnosed around the nation, more Australians were diagnosed with the disease than influenza according to data from the Federal Department of Health.
Over 85,000 Australians were reported to have contracted Chlamydia in 2014 while around 67,000 were reported to have contracted the flu.
And Chlamydia contraction rates for Indigenous people living in remote areas were seven times higher than non-indigenous people living in remote areas, says Professor Guy, who says education and having a regular test for chlamydia are important.