WA Aboriginal Sexual Health and Blood-borne Virus (BBV) Strategy 2015–2018

Icon: Links to WA Aboriginal Sexual Health and Blood-borne Virus Strategy 2015–2018 – prevention and education Icon: Links to WA Aboriginal Sexual Health and Blood-borne Virus Strategy 2015–2018 – testing and diagnosis Icon: Links to WA Aboriginal Sexual Health and Blood-borne Virus Strategy 2015–2018 – disease management and clinical care
Icon: Links to WA Aboriginal Sexual Health and Blood-borne Virus Strategy 2015–2018 – workforce development Icon: Links to WA Aboriginal Sexual Health and Blood-borne Virus Strategy 2015–2018 – enabling environment Icon: Links to WA Aboriginal Sexual Health and Blood-borne Virus Strategy 2015–2018 – research, evaluation and surveillance

The Western Australian Aboriginal Sexual Health Strategy 2005–2008 recognised the unacceptably high rates of sexually transmissible infections (STIs) among Aboriginal people in WA and set out a coordinated, comprehensive response which called upon service providers and communities to work together to improve sexual health outcomes.

The second iteration of the strategy (2008–2014) (PDF 1.13MB) extended the focus to blood-borne viruses (BBVs) in recognition of the high Aboriginal to non-Aboriginal rate ratio of notifications for hepatitis B (unspecified) and hepatitis C.

Download the WA Aboriginal Sexual Health and Blood-borne Virus Strategy 2015–2018 (PDF 1.1MB).

Background

Disparity in notifications between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal populations

During the life of these strategies, the Aboriginal to non-Aboriginal rate ratio of notifications for a range of STIs decreased.

Specifically:

  • chlamydia notifications decreased from 13:1 to 4:1
  • gonorrhoea notifications decreased from 75:1 to 31:1
  • infectious syphilis notifications decreased from 122:1 to 3:1.

This reflects the fact that the average increase in notification rates in the Aboriginal population was substantially lower than in the non-Aboriginal population. Additionally, notification rates for unspecified hepatitis B among Aboriginal people decreased by an average of 2.3 per cent per year between 2004 and 2013.

By contrast, over the same time period, newly acquired hepatitis C notification rates among Aboriginal people increased by an average of 7.9 per cent per year while rates among non-Aboriginal people decreased by an average of 1.6 per cent per year.

Rates of STI and BBV testing in the Aboriginal population have not historically been reported at a state level.

Stakeholder consultation

Consultations with key stakeholders identified a number of ongoing priorities. These include:

  • providing high-quality, culturally appropriate sex education for Aboriginal youth in school and non-school settings
  • increasing information and education around BBVs, particularly around the risks of sharing injecting equipment
  • ensuring Aboriginal people who inject drugs have greater awareness of, and access to, sterile injecting equipment
  • promoting workforce skills and confidence around opportunistic STI and BBV testing
  • addressing stigma and shame associated with injecting drug use
  • addressing ongoing stigma and shame associated with STIs and BBVs.

The third strategy, the WA Aboriginal Sexual Health and Blood-borne Virus (BBV) Strategy 2015–2018 sets out WA Health’s plan for working with sector partners to address these and other priorities in order to further reduce the rates of STIs and BBVs in the Aboriginal population. The strategy:

  • complements, rather than replaces, previous strategies
  • builds upon the Fourth National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Blood-borne Viruses and Sexually Transmissible Infections Strategy 2014–2017
  • is guided by the WA Aboriginal Health and Wellbeing Framework 2015–2030.

The effective implementation of this strategy necessitates a partnership approach between:

  • government departments and agencies
  • Aboriginal medical services and community controlled health services
  • non-government organisations
  • private service providers
  • researchers
  • Aboriginal communities.

The success of this strategy is also contingent on meaningful recognition of the importance of cultural protocols, the role of history and the influence of other social determinants on Aboriginal health outcomes.

Monitoring and evaluation

Progress against the WA Aboriginal Sexual Health and Blood-borne Virus Strategy 2015–2018 will be collated in the WA Aboriginal Sexual Health and Blood-borne Virus Strategy 2015–2015 – Monitoring and Evaluation Framework. This will be updated regularly.

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Public Health