Fri­day ses­sions fo­cus on youth sex­ual health

Albany Extra - - News - Jes­sica Cuth­bert

In an at­tempt to halt the rise of sex­u­ally trans­mit­ted in­fec­tions in Al­bany, headspace is in­tro­duc­ing Sexy Fri­days, a sex­ual health ser­vice for youth.

The ser­vice, in part­ner­ship with Pi­o­neer Health, will be­gin to­mor­row and be held ev­ery sec­ond Fri­day from 2.30pm-4.30pm.

Headspace Al­bany man­ager An­drew Wen­zel said it was a re­ally im­por­tant ser­vice for young peo­ple.

“While we know that men­tal health is­sues are the most com­mon health prob­lem ex­pe­ri­enced by young peo­ple, the in­creas­ing rates of sex­u­ally trans­mit­ted in­fec­tions such as chlamy­dia and gon­or­rhoea are grow­ing at an alarm­ing rate for con­di­tions that are eas­ily and com­pletely pre­ventable,” he said.

“It’s im­por­tant that young peo­ple know that they might have an in­fec­tion and not re­alise it, as they aren’t show­ing signs, there­fore spread­ing it and not even know­ing.”

In Aus­tralia in 2016 there were 71,751 new cases of chlamy­dia di­ag­nosed, mostly in young peo­ple aged 15-29.

Gon­or­rhoea and syphilis are in­creas­ing in young peo­ple, and the rates of gon­or­rhoea in­fec­tion in young peo­ple from ru­ral and re­mote ar­eas and Abo­rig­i­nal and Tor­res Strait Is­lan­der peo­ple are higher than in city pop­u­la­tions.

Mr Wen­zel said the Sexy Fri­day sex­ual health ser­vice would fill the need for easy and con­fi­den­tial preven­tion, test­ing and treat­ing in young peo­ple.

“While lots of young peo­ple are aware of the im­por­tance of con­tra­cep­tion, there seems to be a bit of a dis­con­nect when it comes to STIs and how to pre­vent them,” he said. The ser­vice will be via ap­point­ment or walk-in and all ser­vices will be free or billed through Medi­care, with no out-of-pocket ex­penses.

It will be avail­able for all young peo­ple, not just 0 Al­bany clients.

Pic­ture: Lau­rie Ben­son

Headspace Al­bany man­ager An­drew Wen­zel said the sexy Fri­days ses­sions woudl help pro­vide sup­port to young peo­ple.

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