STI rates 20 times higher in Indigenous Australians

The results of the GOANNA survey, the first national cross-sectional study of STI knowledge, risk practices and health service access in 2800 young Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders was presented to the 2013 Australasian HIV/AIDS conference in Darwin.

It showed that 50% of people aged 16–19 had used a condom in the last year, compared with 26% of people aged 25–29.

A third of all males reported being drunk or high at their last sexual encounter, compared with 22% of females aged 16–29, and men had lower knowledge of STIs than women.

STI testing rates were lowest in the 16–19 age group, and overall 30% of respondents said they had been tested for HIV.

The study followed reports presented to the conference on Monday, which showed that chlamydia rates were four times higher and gonorrhoea rates were 21 times higher in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander populations compared with non-Indigenous populations.