The number of cases of gonorrhoea in Australia has soared by 63% in the past five years, a new study has found.
Australian researchers say the rise in gonorrhoea diagnoses was led by an increase in infection in young heterosexual city dwellers.
However the reasons for the dramatic increase are unclear, researchers say.
Changes in sexual behaviour or a particular strain of the infection could be behind the rise, researchers told AAP.
Gonorrhoea can infect the genitals, rectum and throat, and is treatable with antibiotics.
“Up until recently, gonorrhoea had been uncommon in young heterosexual people living in major cities,” said associate professor at the University of New South Wales, Rebecca Guy, one of the study’s authors.
“Rising rates in this group highlight the need for initiatives to raise awareness among clinicians and young people about the importance of testing.”
An annual report on Australia’s sexual health was released by the university’s Kirby Institute on Monday.