Chlamydia surge: estimated 500,000 new infections last year

"It is skyrocketing," said Associate Professor David Wilson, who presented the latest statistics at the 2013 Australasian Sexual Health Conference in Darwin today. 

There were 82,000 chlamydia diagnoses reported last year. But Professor Wilson, head of the Surveillance and Evaluation Program at the Kirby Institute, believes this could be as little as one-sixth of the real number, with hundreds of thousands of cases undiagnosed.

Professor Wilson said it was important that anyone who tested positive was open and honest with present and past sexual partners. He said all sexually active young people should have themselves tested for chlamydia and gonorrhoea once a year and at the start of any new relationship.

Meanwhile, urban gay men and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people are at particular risk of gonorrhoea, which is at its highest level in 10 years.

Another disease on Professor Wilson's radar is viral hepatitis, with 6702 new

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