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Systematic review

An evidence review from Australia, Aotearoa/New Zealand and Canada for the WA Aboriginal sexual health and blood-borne virus strategy

Sexual health Sexually transmitted diseases Primary health care First Peoples health Canada Western Australia New Zealand

This review was commissioned by the Department of Health WA as part of the development process for the fourth WA Aboriginal sexual health and blood-borne virus (SHBBV) strategy (2019–2023). This strategy aims to prevent and reduce rates of infection in Australian communities. This review has followed the structure of the third strategy, analysing the data through each domain: prevention and education; testing and diagnosis; disease management and clinical care; workforce development; enabling environments, and; research, evaluation, and surveillance.

Key Fndings:

  • Aboriginal people, particularly those living in rural and remote communities, have a significant lack of up-to-date knowledge on sexual health and blood-borne viruses (SHBBV). Approaches that take into account a community’s customs and needs, and use alternative methods of knowledge delivery beyond formal sex education, have shown success in improving SHBBV knowledge and attitudes amongst Aboriginal peoples.
  • Rates of sexually transmitted infections and blood-borne viruses (STIBBVs) are significantly high in Aboriginal communities. Conversely, STIBBV testing rates remain low amongst Aboriginal populations, with few exceptions. However, due to issues with data completeness and the lack of data linkage between services, true rates of testing and diagnoses in the population remain difficult to ascertain.
  • Aboriginal peoples’ comfort and capacity to access SHBBV treatment has been significantly impacted by the healthcare system’s role in colonisation and the resulting mistrust of healthcare services by many communities. As a result, many Aboriginal communities are still significantly under-treated for SHBBV issues, and clinic attendance rates remain low for the majority of communities.
Related Information

WA Aboriginal sexual health and blood-borne virus (SHBBV) strategy (2019–2023) https://apo.org.au/node/276596

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