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  • People failing to use condoms has led to a surge in indigenous HIV

    Author: AAP

The gap between indigenous and non-indigenous Australians in sexual health is widening, according to a new study.

The finding comes as a significant increase in regional and remote HIV diagnoses shows a widening gap between indigenous and non-indigenous Australians' sexual health.

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The number of new cases among indigenous people increased by 41 per cent between 2013 and 2016, a study published by the Lancet has found.

In the same period, non-indigenous diagnoses decreased by 12 per cent.

The study, examining sexual and reproductive sexual health across the country, found overall HIV and human papilloma virus (HPV) infections were declining.

"We can and should celebrate the many sexual and reproductive health and rights advances in Australia," said report author Deborah Bateson, medical director of Family Planning NSW.

"But must also recognise the gaps."

A "decrease in consistent condom use" was behind the surge in indigenous HIV, she said.

Mortality rates for the HPV were four times higher for indigenous woman than non-indigenous, while women in remote regions or from low socio-economic groups were also found to have low rates of screening for the disease.

Since 2011, six indigenous people have died from complications around syphilis,

"Enhancing the availability of reliable, cost-effective, point-of-care STI tests is particularly relevant for regional and remote Australia," associate professor Bateson said.

"The significant burden of STI-related disease among Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people ... demands urgent attention."

Indigenous teenagers gave birth at five times the rate of their non-indigenous counterparts.

An estimated one in six Australian women and one in 16 men have been subject to sexual violence by a past or present partner, the report says.


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