Government spends $8.8 million to curb syphilis outbreak

SourceNational Indigenous Times, Wendy Caccetta, 17 October 2018

Three more regions are to get on-the-spot syphilis tests in the ongoing fight against the potentially deadly outbreak in northern Australia.

The quick tests are now available in East Arnhem Land and Katherine in the Northern Territory and the Kimberley in Western Australia.

They became available in northern Queensland and Darwin in August.

Indigenous Health Minister Ken Wyatt said feedback from Queensland and Darwin was that the tests were having a positive impact.

“Since the syphilis outbreak started in 2011, there have been more than 2200 reported cases,” Mr Wyatt said. “This is a preventable disease, and in this day and age, it’s a tragedy that it is so prevalent in some First Nation communities.”

The Federal Government is spending $8.8 million to curb the outbreak of syphilis in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities.

The on-the-spot tests allow instant diagnosis and if needed, immediate treatment.

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