Data and research

Information on all newly diagnosed cases of notifiable STIs and BBVs is collected on standard forms which include questions which ask about the probable mode of transmission, country of birth, and Indigenous status.

This information is forwarded to state/territory health departments – without the names of the people who have been diagnosed, just a code for each case. This is known as surveillance – the monitoring of notifiable disease data.

Surveillance data are sent to the Kirby Institute, which produces annual surveillance reports, including Blood-borne viral and sexually transmitted infections in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people: Annual Surveillance Report.  These annual reports show the number of new diagnoses in the previous calendar year, statistics on modes of transmission (e.g., anal sex, heterosexual sex, sharing of injecting drug equipment), and rates of STIs and BBVs. Access the 2017 surveillance report here.

For an overview of the 2017 data on HIV rates among Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander people and a discussion of the growing divergence between rates for Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians, see HIV and Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander Communities in 2017, a booklet produced by the South Australian Health and Medical Research Institute.

Government decisions on investment in STI and BBV prevention, treatment and care are made on the basis of surveillance data, along with findings from research studies and consultations with community advocates.

Multijurisdictional Syphilis Outbreak Working Group communiques

The Multijurisdictional Syphilis Outbreak Group (MJSO) produces communiques which provide updates on epidemiological data for the syphilis outbreak, and the Group’s activities.

STI and BBV research

Research provides the evidence base for developing prevention and treatment initiatives targeting particular communities. Research is also important for monitoring and evaluating programs. Australian research centres which focus on STI and BBV prevention among Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities include:

Census Data

The Australian Bureau of Statistics’ (ABS) 2016 Data Summary provides a snapshot  of 2016 census data for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander respondents, including on state/territory of residence.

The map graphic below, drawn from 2006 ABS data, shows population density for discrete Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities.

Discrete Indigenous Communities by Usual Population – ABS, 2006 census data