Pil­bara STI de­cline bucks State trend

Pilbara News - - News - Peter de Krui­jff

■ Rates of sex­u­ally trans­mit­ted dis­eases and blood-borne viruses in the Pil­bara are drop­ping ev­ery year, in a trend the Depart­ment of Health hopes will con­tinue with the re­lease of its up­dated health strate­gies for the mal­adies.

In the depart­ment’s last quar­terly re­port about STI oc­cur­rence, the num­ber of cases of chlamy­dia had dropped 22 per cent and gon­or­rhoea 37 per cent over a one-year pe­riod.

A DoH spokes­woman said the de­creas­ing rates were the re­sult of a sus­tained public health re­sponse over 10 years.

“This in­cludes hav­ing a re­gional sex­ual team in the Pil­bara that work on in­creas­ing aware­ness and ed­u­ca­tion about STIs and BBVs in pri­or­ity pop­u­la­tions,” she said.

“(It also in­cludes) timely … sur­veil­lance re­ports to mon­i­tor and re­spond to no­ti­fi­ca­tion trends, and in­creased STI and BBV test­ing by gen­eral prac­ti­tion­ers and Abo­rig­i­nal com­mu­ni­ty­con­trolled health ser­vices.”

The State has had ded­i­cated re­gional sex­ual health teams in the Pil­bara, Kim­ber­ley, Gold­fields and Mid West re­gions since 2004.

With the new strat­egy, the spokes­woman said the kind of things peo­ple in the Pil­bara would ex­pe­ri­ence in­cluded an in­creased ac­cess to nee­dle and sy­ringe pro­grams, point-of-care test­ing in Abo­rig­i­nal health ser­vices to re­duce the time be­tween di­ag­no­sis and treat­ment for chlamy­dia and gon­or­rhoea, and ac­ces­si­ble and en­hanced teacher train­ing to sup­port school-based sex­ual health ed­u­ca­tion in schools.

How­ever, for the rest of WA there has been an in­crease over­all in STIs and BBVs.

From 2010 to 2014, the an­nual num­ber of HIV no­ti­fi­ca­tions in WA in­creased from 113 to 138.

The spokes­woman said the num­ber of cases ap­peared to have sta­bilised in 2015 to date.

The depart­ment has a few top tips for min­imis­ing the risk of con­tract­ing a STI or BBV.

The spokes­woman said peo­ple with reg­u­lar or ca­sual sex­ual part­ners should al­ways use con­doms and lu­bri­cant, and get tested regularly for STIs/BBVs — at least ev­ery year and if chang­ing part­ners.

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