Remember John Travolta singing “Summer loving had me a blast, Summer loving happened so fast” in Grease?

Well summer loving happens and do so very frequently. The scientific research tells us that in the hot summer young people tends to adopt a more uninhibited behavior. It’s not only psychology, but biology too. Pineal gland react to the increased daylight and decrease production of the sleep driving hormone melatonin that also inhibit our sex drive. Even dopamine and serotonin levels increase with more daylight as stated by a research conducted by Australian Baker Heart Research Institute. Not to mention that while sweating, our skin secrete more pheromones, a fact that triggers desire in other persons.


We’re all animals, so there’s nothing strange about it, right?
But, as often happens, there’s a flip-side in this summer sex blooming.

A study not surprisingly titled “Summer Heat”, conducted by the Australian Medical Sexual Health Centre of Melbourne, concluded that there’s a spinkg in summer diagnoses of Sexually transmitted Infections male and especially of of pelvic inflammatory disease (PID) in women in autumn. 

What this means? That summer love can have its bad consequences if we lower our guard and forget the good habits regarding STI prevention.

And  it looks very much what happened. 
Specifically young Australians aren’t using condoms in their loving season and that’s one of the major cause of the rising rates in STI in Australia (and the rest of the world too). Condoms are one of the most important tools we have to prevent the occurring of Sexually transmitted diseases and its use is decreasing, especially Australian young heterosexual men aged 15 – 29. 

Even though young people are the main target of sexual health campaign in Australia, and therefore they are well aware of the sexually transmitted infections epidemy in our country, it looks like they don’t act accordingly. 
A study of the Kirby institute of Sidney found that in 2017 the vast majority of the diagnoses in Chlamydia were due to 19 – 29 age group and only in that year these diagnoses have gone up 13%.
And another study by the same university shows that young people with more sex partners are less likely to test for STI or HIV. 

Summing up these facts we can figure out why summer heat means autumn STI.

Young people experience more sex with more sex partner and, considering the steady growth of presence of overseas tourists in Australia, possibly foreigners which may be unknowing carriers of STIs. The risk of contracting a sexually transmitted infection is greater for people with more sexual partners. Cat’s out of the bag, doctor.

So, a lot of kids getting sick in Australian summer. But what are exactly the sexually transmitted disease they’re prone to get? As multiple studies shows the highest number of sexually transmitted diseases amongst the young people in Australia are Chlamydia and Gonorrhoea. 

Chlamydia is the most common STI in Australia, and is frequently asymptomatic.

It’s diagnosed more often in women than men and it’s notification is increasing since the last 5 years. Testing for Chlamydia is very simple and Australian STI Management Guidelines recommend the adoption of NAAT testing from urine or swabs from vaginal, anorectal or endocervical areas. The disease is easily treated with antibiotics.

But what is worrying is the sudden increase in gonorrhoea diagnose rate in the last years here in Australia. In 2016 this rate was 63% in five years. These numbers point to a sudden epidemic. Young women aged 15 – 24 are the most affected  and urban areas are the most affected by the epidemic. Even if often asymptomatic, gonorrhoea can lead to long-term side effects, among them infertility. 
There also is a concern with this STI in Australia: the reduced susceptibility to drugs. Infections of Gonorrhoea in Australia are getting untreatable because of antimicrobial resistance. 

But that’s not all. When in XVIIIth century Voltaire wrote Candide there was an ongoing Syphilis epidemic that was spreading unchecked in Europe. “what a strange genealogy! Is not the Devil the original stock of it?” asked the unfortunate Voltairean hero to his leibniz-like mentor, Pangloss. Well Syphilis is still here after more than two centuries. Young indigenous Australians are facing a major outbreak of this sexually transmitted infection and, until now, Australian authorities failed to bring it under control. 

This “Devil’s original stock” disease is a tough nut to crack. Treating Syphilis is a long and difficult matter and side effects can be very nasty, especially in the long term. But are pregnant women the real issue as it can lead to spontaneous miscarriage or cause congenital syphilis infection. 

In short summer fun, especially when it comes to sex, isn’t all puppy dogs and rainbows. It’s important to be aware of the cons of a reckless act and that it’s possible and advisable to adopt safe sexual practices. It’s not difficult: always use condom when having sex with new partners. remember that everyone can have an STI even when it looks ok, so don’t let your guard down. Oral sex is not safe but if you cannot do without it do not allow your partner to ejaculate into your mouth!

These and other advice are also available on many Australian institutional websites like or taking a chat with your doc. 

Published by Peter Williams

I am a medical practitioner from Australia. I am working in St Vincent's Hospital in Sydney now.

Join the Conversation


  1. My sister came to me last week very upset. When I asked her what was wrong, se didn’t want to tell me at first. Finally, she broke down and said she had gone to the Doctor and was told that she had chlamydia. That meant that my sister’s boyfriend had cheated on her, because had never been sexually active with anyone else. Besides being devestated, she felt awful. She had vaginal discharge, severe abdominal pain and itching. Her Doctor gave her a prescription for antibiotics and told her she should start feeling better in about a week. He also told her not to have sex for at least 7 days. She said that would not be a problem, because she was dumping the jerk !

  2. A sexually transmitted disease, in the past venereal disease, in medicine, indicates an infectious disease that is transmitted mainly by direct infection during sexual activities, including oral and anal intercourse. As far as I am concerned, I have never contracted any sickness because I use the appropriate precautions.

  3. A friend of mine went out to a bar one night with a group for an office party. My friend got drunk and passed out in his uber on the way home. The next morning he remembered having sex with the driver and then testing positive for gonorhea a week later. To this very day he is still having really disgusting symptoms and even misses work because of his reaction to the different medicines and the disease itself is still active in his body. However this has not stopped him one bit from getting pass out drunk and using Uber .

  4. A close family goes through a terrible situation, the husband cheats on his wife and eventually contracting the AIDS virus, passing to his wife who unknowingly became pregnant and eventually transmitted the virus to her daughter as well.

  5. I got chlamydia when I was in college. I would never have intercourse without a condom, but I thought I was safe getting blow jobs. So I got as many as I could, and one day my dick was numb and I couldn’t figure out why. So I went to health services and found out it was chlamydia, apparently it was becoming a problem on campus, but they gave me an antibiotic and I was good as new within a few days. Then I was ready for some more blowjobs, but I was a bit more cautious about who I would hook up with.

  6. I genital herpes when I was a teenager. I didn’t even know I have it until my girlfriend showed symptoms. To treat it I used Valtrex and it has made my symptoms manageable.

  7. A friend of mine got an STD from a girl he met at a party. They had sex, but used protection. Some how he still go an STD. They were not sure which STD it was, however it caused them to have small white lumps on their genitals and it hurt when they urinated. They went to the hospital and the doctors did some blood tests. They noted they had extra high white blood cell count. After some medication the infection cleared up. He is still uncertain of what happened. Possibly the condom failed or broke. Hopefully this will not happen to him again.

  8. I once got syphilis from my boyfriend at the time. I had no idea he had it or was even cheating on me until I had irritation on my privates and went to the doctor. It was confirmed I had syphilis and my boyfriend was the only person who could have gave it to me. I confronted him and he admitted to the cheating. Luckily, I got rid of the STD and him.

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *