Liver cancer death rate rising: study

SBS News, 9/4/19

The rate of liver cancer deaths and diagnoses has increased substantially in the past three decades, yet researchers say little has been done to help Australians most at risk.

While it is considered a relatively rare type of cancer – nearly 2000 people were diagnosed in 2014 – the high mortality rate and increasing incidence of diagnosis has been concerning, researcher Barbara de Graaff says.

Rates were highest in the Northern Territory, mostly due to a higher prevalence of hepatitis B and C.

‘People are scared’: the fight against a deadly virus no one has heard of

Guardian Australia, Tue 24 Apr 2018 

An Aboriginal woman – we’ll call her B – is sitting in a dry creek bed outside her community and telling the world “this is a very bad disease. But we have to talk in a way not to shame people. Not telling them straight out. Telling them gently and quietly.”

B is talking about a sickness that has killed her family member and is a potential tragedy facing Aboriginal communities in central Australia, who have the world’s highest rates of a fatal, human immune virus for which there is no current cure, no treatment and no coordinated public health response.

Human T-lymphotropic virus type 1 (HTLV-1) is transmitted through sexual contact, blood transfusion and from mother to child by breastfeeding. It can cause a rapidly fatal form of leukaemia. Some people die within weeks of diagnosis. HTLV-1 also causes inflammation of the spinal cord leading to paralysis, severe lung disease known as bronchiectasis and other inflammatory disease.

In five communities around Alice Springs, more than 45% of adults tested have the virus, a rate thousands of times higher than for non-Indigenous Australians.

Syphilis jumps to WA: doctors say ‘complacent’ safe sex attitudes to blame

ABC News, 17/03/2018

Some sexually transmitted diseases are on the rise in Western Australia, with Aboriginal communities in the north hit particularly hard by a syphilis outbreak.

Australian Medical Association president Omar Khorshid said Aboriginal people in the north had been failed.

“It’s really sad that we’ve actually had and outbreak of syphilis that started in north Queensland that’s gone right across the north of Australia, through the Northern Territory and into the Kimberley through our Aboriginal populations,” Dr Khorshid said.

“In this day and age, in a medical system that’s had a cure for that condition for many decades, the fact we are still seeing an outbreak of such an easily treated infectious disease really says a lot about our failure as a community to deal with the health issues in our Aboriginal communities.”

 

 

What is really going on with STIs in Indigenous kids?

The Age, 10 March 2018

Detailed new statistics on sexually transmitted infections among Indigenous children in the Northern Territory reveal the number of cases is declining and there is little evidence to link STI rates to child abuse.

 

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

HIV Conference slams spitting laws in SA, WA & NT

Australasian Society for HIV, Viral Hepatitis and Sexual Health Medicine (ASHM)

 Adelaide: Friday, 18 November 2016

Delegates at Australia’s national HIV/AIDS conference have condemned the governments of South Australia, Western Australia and Northern Territory over laws that force people accused of criminal offences to undergo mandatory HIV and blood-borne virus testing.

The conference passed a resolution this afternoon expressing its ‘profound disappointment’ in the laws, which make it mandatory for people to undergo blood tests if they are accused of spitting on or biting law enforcement personnel. The laws were passed in South Australia and Western Australia in 2014, and in the Northern Territory in 2016.

Read more here