Public health alert: syphilis outbreak in Central Queensland

SourcePHN Central Queensland, Wide Bay, Sunshine Coast, Jasmin Midgley, 1 May 2019

Outbreak of infectious syphilis in Central Queensland
Attn: All clinicians in Central Queensland

There has been an increase in cases of infectious syphilis in Central Queensland Hospital and Health Service area where it’s considered to be an outbreak.

The recent syphilis cases in the region appears to be mainly in two relatively distinct groups: heterosexual Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, and non-Indigenous gay men and other men who have sex with men.

Read full story for Patient Management Recommendations


Podcast on eliminating viral hepatitis in Indigenous communities

SourceUNSW SpeakEasy Poscast,  29 August 2019

S04 SpeakEasy AVHEC 2019 with James Ward and Chris Cunningham

Associate Professor James Ward, a Pitjantjatjara/Narungga man and a national leader in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander research on STIs, health and wellbeing, and Professor Chris Cunningham, of the Ngati Toa and Ngati Raukawa tribes of New Zealand and Professor of Maori Health, join Annie and Carla in our second AVHEC19 (Australasian Viral Hepatitis Elimination Conference) special episode. The awesome foursome join heads to discuss how viral hepatitis elimination is going in Australian and New Zealand Indigenous communities and where there's room for improvement.

Listen to the Podcast


$440 million funding boost for vital health and medical research for all stages of life

Source:  The Hon Greg Hunt MP, Minister for Health, Media Release,  29 August 2019

$440 million funding boost for vital health and medical research for all stages of life

The Morrison Government will invest over $440 million in world-leading health and medical research projects to improve the lives of all Australians.

Our Government will strengthen Australians’ health through research to prevent illness and deliver better health care.

A total of 298 new projects will receive funding from the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC).


View the full media release


Announcing launch of new resource - Clinical practice manual

Source: Young Deadly Free,  1 August 2019

STI and BBV control in remote communities: clinical practice and resource manual

A key component of the Young Deadly Free project has been the development of resources to support doctors, nurses, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health workers and practitioners with their remote practice.

Our new resource the STI and BBV control in remote communities: Clinical practice and resource manual has been developed for new and more experienced remote clinicians in the areas of STI and BBV testing, care and management.

We consulted widely with remote clinicians in developing this resource. Many highlighted the following challenges:

  • difficulty navigating health systems and models of care
  • limited exposure to and knowledge with some of the STIs and BBVs endemic in many remote communities
  • accessing and navigating relevant STI and BBV clinical guidelines
  • limited cultural orientation, and or guidance on how to best engage young people in the clinic and community settings.

This feedback informed the development of this manual and guided us in identifying online induction resources, training modules and remote practice manuals from across Queensland, Northern Territory, Western Australia and South Australia.

The manual also collates national, jurisdictional and regional STI and BBV clinical guidelines as well as highlighting national guidelines for addressing the current syphilis outbreak affecting much of remote Australia.

Using this resource

This manual is available only as an online resource on the Young Deadly Free website. Keeping the resource online is not only good for the environment but also enables us to regularly update it especially as guidelines, references, and epidemiological data are renewed. Or as feedback from you is received. We’ll keep you informed of updates via newsletter alerts.

It's important to note that the information contained within this manual does not substitute clinical advice or guidance and should not be relied on by health practitioners in providing clinical care.

Don't forget to check out all the other deadly resources on the Young Deadly Free

Thank you!

A huge thank you to the many doctors, nurses and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Workers and Practitioners who generously provided feedback and advice in developing this manual. We also acknowledge the young people, Elders, community leaders – and whole communities – who graciously and enthusiastically offered their time to developing the Young Deadly Free health promotion resources catalogued in the manual.

View the full manual


Young Deadly Free on Triple J's The Hook Up

Source: Triple J, The Hook Up,  7 July 2019

Young Deadly Free's Amanda Sibosado was featured on Triple J's The Hook Up, talking about the project.

Tune in and have a listen to Amanda.

Or listen to the full show on Triple J.


HIV diagnoses in Australia hit 18-year low, but there is still a way go

Source: ABC News,  3 July 2019

Australia has solidified its reputation as a world leader in HIV prevention, recording its lowest number of new HIV cases in almost two decades.

However, challenges remain in reducing transmission among heterosexuals and the Indigenous population.

New figures released today by the Kirby Institute at the University of New South Wales reveal 835 HIV diagnoses were made in 2018, the lowest number on record since 2001.

The figure represents a 23 per cent decline in cases nationally in the past five years, to a rate that is nearing a third of what it was at the peak of the AIDS epidemic in 1987.

"This reduction is very encouraging," said Professor Rebecca Guy, head of the Kirby Institute's Surveillance, Evaluation and Research Program.

"Although we've seen reductions in recent years in some Australian states, in 2018 we saw significant reductions at a national level."

She said widespread HIV testing and treatment, alongside the introduction of HIV preventative medicine Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis, or PrEP, was behind the public health success.

Read the full story.


Funding for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health absent from federal budget

Source: NACCHO News,  3 April 2019

The National Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation (NACCHO) is disappointed at the lack of funding allocated in the 2019-2020 federal budget for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health services and the Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Sector.

NACCHO welcomes the $15 million allocated for Indigenous suicide prevention and the $20 million for Indigenous specific initiatives for the implementation of the national strategies for blood borne viruses and sexually transmissible infections. However, we know that this commitment is well below the need.

“The gap between the health outcomes in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and other Australians will continue to persist unless there is a significant commitment to supporting the work of Aboriginal community controlled health organisations,” NACCHO CEO, Pat Turner said.

NACCHO has long called for an increase to the baseline funding for Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Services to support the sustainable delivery of high quality, comprehensive primary health care services to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and communities.

Read the full story.


SBS Insight – Living with HIV

Source: SBS,  2 April 2019

How much do you trust the people you’re with to tell you the truth about their sexual health?
Jenny Brockie speaks to people with HIV, and they discuss what it’s like to date and love in 2019.

View the episode at:


Response to Syphilis Outbreak Steps up Again

SourceThe Hon Ken Wyatt AM, MP, Media Hub, 26 March 2019

The Australian Government is again stepping up the fight against the syphilis outbreak affecting Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in central, northern and southern Australia.

The Morrison Government is again stepping up the fight against the syphilis outbreak affecting Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in central, northern and southern Australia.

In partnership with the National Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation, our Government has begun rolling out Phase 3 of its enhanced response to the outbreak.

Phase 3 extends the Test and Treat model to11 new Aboriginal Community-Controlled Health Services (ACCHS) in Western Australia, South Australia and the Northern Territory.

The response includes point of care test kits that enable immediate diagnosis and treatment of the disease, compared to a wait of up to two weeks for diagnosis using a traditional blood test.

Syphilis is preventable and treatable, but without treatment is deadly. We are making progress against this outbreak but it is shocking that it was allowed to become so entrenched in some First Nations communities.

The new phase will begin with training of staff and provision of kits at Mala’la Health Service in Maningrida, Western Arnhem Land, in the NT. This will be followed by roll out in the western, Eyre, far north and Adelaide regions of South Australia, and the Pilbara and Western Kimberley regions of Western Australia.

Read the full media release here.

STIs in remote Australia

Source: ABC Health Report, presented by Dr Norman Swan, 18 March 2019

A leading Aboriginal researcher is calling for action in remote Australia to deal with a preventable epidemic of sexually transmissible infections — including syphilis — in a population that's no more sexually active than non-Indigenous people of the same age.

Listen to the broadcast here.

Professor James Ward will address the National Rural Health Conference 2019 (24-27 Marchon the topic of addressing sexually transmitted infections in remote Australia. 


Professor James Ward

Associate Professor, Flinders University; Head of Infectious Diseases Research, Aboriginal Health, South Australian Health and Medical Research Institute


Dr Norman Swan


James Bullen