Bleats

There's A Thousand People With Chlamydia At Splendour In The Grass

And none of them are koalas. At least, as far as we are aware.

If you’re reading this then chances are you’re not at Splendour in the Grass – the annual three day music festival which started today in Byron Bay.

And that’s potentially good news because reportedly about 1000 people there have chlamydia.

Before you start speculating on the status of individual festival goers of your acquaintance it’s worth pointing out that this is an estimate based on the fact that there are 30,000 people there. About one in thirty young people have the sexually transmitted disease, and of the thousand likely chlamydiacs at Byron today around 720 of them won’t be aware of it.

Chlamydia, you see, is an insidious disease that doesn’t necessarily announce itself, especially for women. And it can really do a number on your health and fertility later on.

And that’s why NSW Health are doing screenings at the festival, and you have to admire their insider knowledge of what constitutes an incentive for people at a camping festival: they’re access to pristine toilets, which is reason enough to hand over a bit of wee for testing.

If you’ve been to festivals, you know what Day 3 smells like.

“Music festivals present an opportunity to reach our target audience, raise awareness of STIs and reduce the stigma around testing,” NSW Health’s Chris Bourne explained to the Sydney Morning Herald, and the fact they’ve set up near the campground means that… look, they’re going to have a really solid captive audience, is what we’re saying.

Folks will be alerted in a week as to whether they’re AOK or need to do something, and look, even if you’re not in Byron, if you’ve been less than entirely assiduous with the placement of your genitals since the last checkup, it’s probably worth getting tested (and you can find a clinic here: scroll down to find your state).

Your future, your partner(s) and your most sensitive bits will thank you.

Your New Digital Health Record Will Absolutely Be Accessible To The Police For Some Reason

They're just saving you from… um, health crime?

There is much buzz about the new digital online government database MyHealth Record. It’s a digital record of your health care which will allow practitioners to ensure that care can be continued across different practices and states, and will inevitably be hacked or abused because obviously it’s going to be since humans are involved.

And you can understand why, because it’d be an awesome blackmail tool, very profitable information for employers and health insurers and a super-duper revenge method.

It’s not hard to imagine situations where you’d rather not like your private medical information made public, whether it’s an old STI screening, a stint on antidepressants, or your ongoing monthly battle with lycanthropy. Anti-werewolf stigma is still a very real thing.

 

However, the Australian Digital Health Agency has been clear that the system is going to be as secure as current technology makes it and that users will be able to see who has accessed their record.

And it’s some of those people which should give you pause, because according to the ABC, “The ADHA is authorised by law to disclose someone’s health information if it “reasonably believes” it’s necessary for preventing or investigating crimes and protecting the public revenue, among other things specified under section 70 of the My Health Records Act.”

What exactly does this mean? Less than reassuringly, no-one appears to know.

 

The ADHA have issued a statement that “While the Agency assesses each formal request on a case by case basis, our operating policy is to release information only where the request is subject to judicial oversight. If the access does not support public confidence and trust in the System and the object of the My Health Record Act then the Agency will deny the request.”

Which is super, except that they were also unable to define “protecting the public revenue”, and it’s hard to imagine what circumstances would require the police to access health data. Crime, despite the metaphor, is not actually a disease.

Still, maybe the police just want to check if you’re… um, getting suspicious health conditions? Putting the public revenue at risk with your profligate use of antibiotics?

 

“WE HAVE YOU SURROUNDED. WE’RE SENDING IN THE DOGS.”

And given the extent of what the FBI call “LOVEINT” – people within the intelligence community illegally using their access to otherwise restricted data to do things like stalk their crushes or track down their exes – you might think letting the cops have access to your health data for unclear reasons might be reason enough to opt out.

You have three months to decide if you’d rather not have My Health Record, though. But you know, while you’re thinking about it…

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