Sexual health in Australia’s tropical north

ABC Radio National Health Report, Monday 5 June 2017 5:45 PM

There are currently epidemics of syphilis and HIV in young Indigenous people in Cairns. These epidemics are out of control, and have crossed borders to to the Northern Territory, and in the case of syphilis, to Western Australia and South Australia as well.

But in better news, Cairns is a nation leader when it comes to clearing the region of hepatitis C, using drugs that became available in March 2016. For example, the local prison population is hepatitis C-free – the first Australian prison that can make that claim.

Guest:

Dr Darren Russell
Clinical Associate Professor, The University of Melbourne
Adjunct Associate Professor, James Cook University
Director of Sexual Health, Cairns Sexual Health Service

Indigenous HIV rates on the rise

ABC Radio, Wednesday 13 July 2016 6:50AM

Health authorities are warning a major HIV epidemic in Australia’s Indigenous population is a real risk unless more is done to tackle sexual health issues.

For the first time, the rate of HIV infections in Indigenous Australians has increased in comparison to Australia’s non-Indigenous population.

There’s particular concern about a spike in HIV cases amongst Indigenous people in north Queensland, where doctors are linking the rise to a syphilis outbreak.

Guest: Dr Darren Russell, Director of Sexual Health, Cairns Base Hospital; Adjunct Associate Professor, School of Medicine and Clinical, James Cook University

Listen or download audio here

Queensland’s worst outbreak of syphilis in 30 years rampant in state’s north

Brisbane Times,

Queensland’s worst outbreak of syphilis in 30 years has spread across northern Queensland with 500 new cases since 2010.

Only four years ago the Medical Journal of Australia predicted syphilis – which causes lesions in the brain and blindness – would be eradicated in remote Queensland with screening and basic penicillin shots.

The escalating rate of syphilis in Queensland’s far north is 300 times more frequent amongst indigenous people, than among the non-indigenous community.

Read more here