Medical experts are warning a generation of young Australians to be checked regularly for sexually transmitted diseases or risk serious complications including infertility for women. The warning comes amid new figures showing an explosion in chlamydia cases in Australia.
The University of New South Wales’ Kirby Institute estimates that there were 82,000 people diagnosed with chlamydia in 2012. The alarming fact is that this figure could be just one sixth of the real infection number, with potentially hundreds of thousands of cases going undiagnosed.
Tania Taylor, Director of 1stavailable.com.au, Australia’s No 1 healthcare appointment booking site, said that chlamydia was still a taboo subject and people don’t seem to take it seriously.
“Unlike other STIs, chlamydia has no symptoms and is incredibly easy to ignore,” Ms Taylor said.
“People like to sweep it under the carpet and just not talk about it. It’s not like catching a cold. This can be a very serious infection that if left untreated, can have alarming side-effects.
“Sexually transmitted infections aren’t exactly comfortable discussion topics and many people are still uncomfortable talking about STIs with their GPs. While many sexually active Australians recognise the importance of regular check-ups, many people are too simply too embarrassed or delay booking the doctor’s appointment,” Ms Taylor said.
Chlamydia is extremely common in anyone under the age of 25. Experts believe that people in this age bracket are less inclined to go for regular check-ups, which further exacerbates the chlamydia problem in Australia.
One of Australia’s leading medical professionals, Dr Ross Walker, is a keen advocate of regular medical check-ups. Dr Walker is not surprised that there could be hundreds of thousands of undiagnosed cases of chlamydia in Australia.
“Australians are very lazy when it comes to regular health check-ups – particularly the younger generation,” Dr Walker said.
“Most of the time, they’re simply not interested. They think they’re bullet proof. But whether you’re 25 or 65, regular check-ups should be routine. Treatment for a range of medical problems, including STIs, is much easier in the early stages.
“A chlamydia test can be easily carried out by your GP or at any sexual health clinic. The infection can be cured with a single dose of antibiotics. But re-infection will occur unless both partners are treated.
“If left untreated, chlamydia can cause serious complications, particularly for women. These implications can include pelvic inflammatory disease, which can lead to chronic pain and infertility,” Dr Walker said.
According to Ms Taylor, healthcare booking site, 1stavailable.com.au,, is helping to improve healthcare access for patients who feel uncomfortable or awkward about making certain types of appointments.
“1stavailable.com.au, takes the pressure off making an appointment. No phone calls, no awkward conversations or embarrassing explanations. It’s all done online or through our app,” she said.
“Patients retain a certain level of anonymity when making appointments and they can be booked at a time convenient to the patient.
“We expect that the success of online healthcare booking platforms like 1stavailable.com.au, will significantly increase the number of important STI check-ups in Australia. This is because patients can now make bookings with privacy,” Ms Taylor said.
For further information or interviews, please contact:
Ms Tania Taylor, Director, 1stavailable.com.au 0434 305 459
1stavailable.com.au is the brainchild of Sydney-based dentist Dr Rick Luu and is run by a highly experienced executive team of veterans in both the healthcare and online markets. The team has gained significant experience working with businesses like wotif.com, seek.com, carsales.com.au, realestate.com.au, ninemsn and other leading online destinations.
1stAvailable provides consumers with a central online booking portal to find and book healthcare appointments instantly, at any hour of the day including when the practice is closed. It is free to patients, easy to use, convenient and easily accessible on the internet via your PC or mobile phone. There are tens of thousands of appointments available online now. If consumers don’t find what they need, by simply signing up they can help bring on the healthcare providers they are looking for.
1stAvailable is a breakthrough for healthcare professionals. It improves practice efficiency and profitability by freeing up front desk staff, improving customer service and helping to fill open and costly last-minute cancellations. Essentially, it alleviates and creates capacity in an overextended healthcare system. With the increasing shift towards digital technology, the 1stAvailable platform is improving access to Australian healthcare services.
Reference:Sexually transmissible and blood-borne infections in Australia: the 2013 Surveillance Reports, The Kirby Institute