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Territory sex disease capital of Australia

Single men and women beware - the NT is the sex disease capital of Australia, according to new figures.
The National Notifiable Diseases Surveillance System showed the Territory last year had the highest rates of sexually transmitted infections in the country.
Territorians are three times more likely to have chlamydia and 18 times more likely to have gonorrhea than the rest of Australia.
The 1501 patients with gonorrhea puts the Territory close to the same number as New South Wales and Queensland - making up almost 20 per cent of all cases recorded in Australia.
The rate of syphilis infections is also more than three times higher than the national average.
The Department of Health's Sexual Health section head Jamie Broadfoot said the numbers could even be higher because people can walk around with a sexually transmitted infection without noticing any symptoms.
"You can go a significant amount of time without knowing you have an infection," he said.
"You could have a number of partners and not know you are passing it on."
Mr Broadfoot said the rates in the Aboriginal population were "very very high ... but the rates in the non-Aboriginal population are still very high. Across, the board, they are high."
Mr Broadfoot said the department runs free and confidential health checks through Clinic 34.
"I want to remind people that when they have unsafe sex, it is important to get tested," he said.
"It is the best way to protect themselves and protect their partner."
Mr Broadfoot said some people are embarrassed to talk to health professionals about this issue.
"A person's private sexual practices is a difficult thing to talk about," he said.
"There is a level of embarrassment, so we try to normalise it. They are very treatable illnesses."

AAP (17-1-2010)
Nick Calacouras

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