Fulfilling prophecy? Sexually transmitted infections and HIV in Indigenous people in Western Australia
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Objective:To compare trends and rates of HIV and sexually transmitted infections in Indigenous and non-Indigenous people of Western Australia.Design and setting:Analysis of WA notification data for chlamydia, gonorrhoea, and primary and secondary syphilis in 2002, and for HIV infections from 1983 to 2002.Main outcome measures:Rates of HIV and sexually transmitted infection by Indigenous status.Results:In 2002, there were 3046 notifications for chlamydia, 1380 for gonorrhoea and 64 for syphilis. When information on Indigenous status was available, Indigenous people accounted for 41% of chlamydia and 76% of gonorrhoea notifications, with Indigenous : non-Indigenous age-standardised rate ratios of 16 (95% CI, 14-17) and 77 (95% CI, 67-88), respectively. Indigenous people accounted for 90.6% of syphilis notifications (age-standardised Indigenous : non-Indigenous rate ratio, 242 [95% CI, 104-561]). From 1985 to 2002, HIV notification rates for non-Indigenous people in WA declined and rates for Indigenous people increased. From 1994 to 2002, there were 421 notifications of HIV infection in WA residents, 52 (12.4%) in Indigenous people and 369 (87.6%) in non-Indigenous people. Indigenous people accounted for 39% and 6.2% of all notifications in WA females and males, respectively. The Indigenous : non-Indigenous rate ratios were 18 (95% CI, 12-29) for females and 2 (95% CI, 1-3) for males.Conclusions:Indigenous Western Australians are at greater risk of HIV transmission than non-Indigenous people. Strategies to prevent further HIV infection in Indigenous Australians should include control of sexually transmitted infections.
Thompson, Sandra and Wright, Michael R. and Giele, Carolien M. and Dance, Phyll R. (2005) Fulfilling prophecy? Sexually transmitted infections and HIV in Indigenous people in Western Australia, Medical Journal of Australia 183(3):124-128.
Copyright Australasian Medical Publishing Company. The Medical Journal of Australia.
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