- In a first for Western Australia, Perth festival goers to be offered on-site STI testing
- New advertising campaign launched to reduce STIs in Western Australia
A sexually transmitted infection (STI) test is set to become part of the festival experience for young Western Australian music lovers this summer.
In a bold new initiative designed to reduce rates of chlamydia and gonorrhoea among the high-risk age group, the Department of Health will provide free on-site testing for two sexually transmitted infections at the Falls Festival in Fremantle on January 5 and 6, 2019.
Announcing the initiative - a first for WA - Health Minister Roger Cook revealed that testing would be available at a special 'pampering facility' that will be set up for the duration of the two-day event.
Testing will be quick and simple. It will involve providing a small urine sample that will be sent off site for pathology.
Festival goers who get tested will be rewarded with refreshments, free condoms and access to superior toilets. Peer educators from WA AIDS and the Youth Affairs Council of WA will be on hand at the festival to distribute condoms and help spread safe sex messages.
The festival initiative follows the success of on-site STI testing at music festivals in New South Wales, and is part of a broader public health program to reduce rates of STIs and blood-borne viruses in Western Australia.
Also unveiled today was a new sexual health campaign that will run in cinemas, online and in print over the summer period.
The campaign targets young people and highlights that unprotected sex with one person, is not just with one person. The ad depicts an amorous young couple disturbed by voices of past sexual partners.
Young people aged 16 to 24 are a key risk group for STIs. In the 12 months to September 30, 2018, they accounted for 51 per cent of the 11,486 chlamydia notifications in WA.
Chlamydia is the most common STI in WA and the most notified of all the notifiable infections in the State - on average 11,640 cases are reported each year.
Comments attributed to Health Minister Roger Cook:
"The McGowan Government is committed to actions that prevent illness and disease and these two initiatives seek to do just that through a novel and targeted approach.
"Sexually transmitted infections are a serious public health concern and young people are a high-risk group. That is why it is vital they are encouraged to feel comfortable about using condoms and getting tested for STIs. These campaigns seek to normalise these practices.
"The festival initiative is a great way for young people to have fun and look after their health at the same time. I would encourage any young person attending the festival to consider taking a few minutes to get tested."
Minister's office - 6552 6500