SPLENDOUR in the Grass revellers were asked to take a sexually transmitted infection (STI) test, in exchange for entry into a VIP area at the festival last weekend.

Health authorities provided Chlamydia testing for young people at Splendour in the Grass as part of the award-winning Down to Test program.

Since the program launched last year, almost 2500 young people have provided a urine sample for testing, with 71 positive for chlamydia, a disease that can cause infertility if left untreated.

STI rates in Australia are rising, with the number of chlamydia cases almost doubling over the past decade, and those most affected are aged 15 to 29,” NSW Health’s STI Program Unit head Dr Chris Bourne said.

Music festivals present an opportunity to reach our target audience, raise awareness of STIs and reduce the stigma around testing. And results show this program is working.

The Chlamydia test is confidential, takes less than five minutes and a result can be ready in a few days via text or a phone call.

We hope record numbers will visit our VIP tent and in return we offer a ‘chill out’ area, free phone charging, clean toilets, a make-up bar and peace of mind,” Dr Bourne said.

There were 28,000 chlamydia notifications in NSW last year. Most people are unaware they have the infection but chlamydia is easily cured by a single dose of antibiotics.

The Centre for Social Research in Health at UNSW is monitoring the progress of the Down to Test program, which recently picked up a Mumbrella advertising award.

After surveying past participants in the program, researchers found over half reported improved knowledge of STIs and sexual health, while a third vowed to continue STI testing.

For more information on where to go to get a STI test call the NSW Sexual Health Infolink 1800 451 624.

Source: News.com.au.