Train­ing aims to nor­malise STI tests

Pilbara News - - News -

Abo­rig­i­nal Health Work­ers around the State are be­ing trained to carry out test­ing for sex­u­ally trans­mit­ted in­fec­tions, in a bid to in­crease test­ing rates among Abo­rig­i­nal peo­ple.

The Abo­rig­i­nal Health Coun­cil of WA ini­tially ran the pi­lot pro­gram The Birds and BBVs in Albany in May last year and, since then, 49 peo­ple have par­tic­i­pated in the train­ing. The two­day train­ing course has been held in Broome, Kal­go­or­lie, Bun­bury, Roe­bourne and Perth.

AHCWA chair­woman Michelle Nel­son-Cox said rates of STIs and blood borne viruses were far higher among Abo­rig­i­nal peo­ple.

“Abo­rig­i­nal peo­ple are five times more likely to have chlamy­dia, 14 times more at risk of gon­or­rhea, six times more likely to con­tract syphilis and 10 times more at risk of Hepati­tis C,” she said. “We’re seek­ing to nor­malise test­ing by mak­ing it a rou­tine part of a visit to an Abo­rig­i­nal Com­mu­nity Con­trolled Health Ser­vice.”

Ms Nel­son-Cox said she was hope­ful the train­ing would con­trib­ute to in­creas­ing the rate of STI test­ing among Abo­rig­i­nal peo­ple.

AHCWA is work­ing with Curtin Univer­sity to eval­u­ate the ef­fi­cacy of the train­ing pro­gram.

Pic­ture: Abo­rig­i­nal Health Coun­cil of WA

Re­cently trained Mawarnkarra Health Ser­vice work­ers Veron­ica Wal­she, Cody Schlink, Adri­anna Irvine-Stanes, Amorette Lock­yer, Lor­raine Taui and Es­tee Pin­der.

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