Sexually Transmitted Infection (STIs) & Blood-Borne Viruses (BBVs)
What’s an STI?
STI is short for sexually transmissible infection—an infection you can get from having sex with someone who has that infection.
Common STIs in remote communities are chlamydia, gonorrhoea, trichomonas and syphilis. HIV is also an STI.
STIs affect young people especially people aged 15–34 years and are very common in many remote and isolated Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities.
You can have an STI and not know it, because many STIs have no signs or symptoms—that’s why it is important to get tested regularly.
Even if you are feeling well, it can be causing damage to your body. You can also pass the infection on to people you have sex with even if you feel well and don’t have symptoms.
STIs can be very dangerous for pregnant women. They can harm both the mum and baby. Testing as soon as you know you’re pregnant and during pregnancy is super important.
Facts about Sexually Transmitted Infections
STIs are really common in our youth. It’s important that all our mob know about them, so we can protect ourselves and our communities. Watch this video to get the facts.
Get tested – get treated
It is recommended that young people test regularly for STIs (at least once a year).
Testing for STIs and getting tested is part of living a healthy life — testing is also about respecting yourself, your partner and your community. It’s all part of being young, deadly and free!
What’s a BBV?
A BBV is a blood borne virus — a virus you can get if the blood, semen (cum) or vaginal fluid from someone with that virus gets into your blood. This can happen during sex or by sharing drug injecting equipment.
HIV, hepatitis B and hepatitis C are BBVs.
You can also have a BBV and feel well, with no symptoms. The only way of knowing you have a BBV is to get tested.
Testing is easy.
There are also treatments for BBVs.
Don’t be shame — STI and BBV testing is about respecting yourself, your partner and your community. It’s all about being young deadly and free!
STIs and BBVs – the facts
Want to learn about STIs and BBVs and getting tested?
Here are some factsheets about STIs and BBVs.
- how you can prevent STIs and BBVs
- the symptoms and signs
- using condoms
- getting tested, how it’s done and how often to test
- what treatment involves
- staying safe.
You may have seen TV ads about syphilis recently.
Our latest ads focus on youth and encouraging people to get tested regularly.
Our previous two ads, were about getting tested and why it’s important, and about testing for STIs especially syphilis during pregnancy.
These ads are for everyone in the community. Knocking out syphilis and other STIs is everyone’s responsibility. Share these videos!
You can get tested for STIs at your local health clinic. Just ask the health worker or doctor.
- Whenever you have a health check
- If you have a new partner
- If you have been having sex with different people without using condoms
- If you have been sharing injecting or tattooing equipment.
Get tested at least every six to 12 months, even if you always use a condom – or usually do.
Condoms can break and condoms don’t protect against all STIs.
Don’t be shame. We need to get STI rates down in our community. Getting tested is looking after your health and helping the community knockout STIs.
- STIs can happen to anyone
- STIs can be treated
- Health workers can help explain treatment.
Better to Know is a website for young Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander men and women. It provides detailed information on STIs and BBVs, and on getting tested– in two sections, Men’s Business and Women’s Business. You can organise to be sent a reminder SMS to have a sexual health check. You can also use the website to notify recent sex partners that they need to have a sexual health check. This can be done anonymously – they won’t know that it was you that sent the message. The clinic can help you with this.
Where to get a test
You can get tested for STIs at your local health clinic. Testing is free. Just ask the health worker or doctor.
The allgood website includes a ‘find a service tab’ to find a local doctor, clinic or a testing centre that provides STI and BBV testing.
Sex and the law
Laws covering the age young people can legally consent to having sex differ between states and territories. These factsheets outline these and related laws, and provide information on services that can provide information, advice and assistance:
- Sex, young people and the law Factsheet
- Sexting and the law Factsheet
- Mandatory reporting of child sexual abuse Factsheet