Sexually transmitted infections (STIs) and blood-borne viruses (BBVs) are an important public health issue, and WA Health is pleased to endorse the state STIs, HIV, hepatitis B, hepatitis C and Aboriginal STI and BBV strategies. This represents our commitment to working towards ambitious targets to prevent, test, treat and minimise the personal and social impact of BBVs and STIs.
Notifications for STIs and BBVs have increased in Western Australia over the past decade, and represent a significant burden of disease. Chlamydia is the most commonly reported STI in WA, HIV notifications have been rising since 2011, hepatitis B and C are both major contributors to chronic liver disease in our community, and the incidence of STIs and BBVs in Aboriginal communities remains disproportionately high.
Fortunately, much has already been achieved in the prevention and treatment of BBVs and STIs in Western Australia. Since 2010, key achievements have included:
- improvements in STI testing rates
- a significant decrease in notification rates for chlamydia and gonorrhoea in the Aboriginal population
- virtual elimination of HIV amongst sex workers, people who inject drugs and mother-to-child transmission
- high rates of childhood vaccination for hepatitis B
- disease management support through a new chronic hepatitis B and C primary care pathway.
The Western Australian Strategies for STIs, HIV, hepatitis B and hepatitis C, and Aboriginal STIs and BBVs build on these recent successes. The strategies emphasise the importance of partnerships with non-government and community organisations as together we strive to reduce the transmission and impact of STIs and BBVs in our community.
The strategies outline goals which include to:
- build awareness amongst priority populations
- continue to provide coordinated and responsive training and resources, and professional support programs
- improve testing rates by increasing access and awareness amongst priority populations
- exploit exciting new HIV and hepatitis C treatments
- improve models of care in the primary health care setting
- maximise ongoing community engagement with health programs by eliminating stigma and discrimination amongst priority populations
- conduct ongoing evaluation of health promotion and treatment programs and services to ensure they are meeting communities’ needs.
The strategies will be assessed against detailed monitoring and evaluation frameworks, which will be updated periodically to ensure responsive, current and relevant governance, and vitally, that they support our goal of reducing the transmission and impacts of sexually transmitted infections and blood-borne viruses in our community.
Hon Dr Kim Hames, MLA
Minister for Health