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Epidemiology of chlamydia and gonorrhoea among Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians, 2000–2009

Simon Graham, Rebecca J Guy, Basil Donovan, Hamish McManus, Jiunn-Yih Su, Carol El-Hayek, Kellie S H Kwan, Amalie Dyda, Handan C Wand and James S Ward
Med J Aust 2012; 197 (11): 642-646. || doi: 10.5694/mja12.10163

Summary

Objectives: To assess notification trends for chlamydia and gonorrhoea infections in Indigenous Australians compared with non-Indigenous Australians in 2000–2009.

Design and setting: We assessed trends in national notification rates using univariate Poisson regression and summary rate ratios.

Main outcome measures: Crude notification rates and summary rate ratios, by Indigenous status, sex, age and area of residence.

Results: Over the 10-year period studied, chlamydia notification rates per 100 000 increased by 80% from 1383 in 2000 to 2494 in 2009 among Indigenous people, and by 335% from 51 in 2000 to 222 in 2009 among non-Indigenous people. The Indigenous versus non-Indigenous summary rate ratio was 23.92 (95% CI, 23.65–24.19; P < 0.001). Gonorrhoea notification rates per 100 000 increased by 22% from 1347 in 2000 to 1643 in 2009 among Indigenous people, and by 70% from 10 in 2000 to 17 in 2009 among non-Indigenous people. The gonorrhoea summary notification rate ratio in Indigenous compared with non-Indigenous people was 173.78 (95% CI, 170.81–176.80; P < 0.001). In Indigenous people, the highest chlamydia and gonorrhoea notification rates were in women, 15–19-year-olds, and those living in remote areas.

Conclusions: Chlamydia and gonorrhoea notification rates have increased in both populations but were higher among Indigenous people. Our findings highlight the need for targeted prevention programs for young people, especially Indigenous Australians residing in remote areas.

  • Simon Graham1
  • Rebecca J Guy1
  • Basil Donovan1,2
  • Hamish McManus1
  • Jiunn-Yih Su3
  • Carol El-Hayek4
  • Kellie S H Kwan5
  • Amalie Dyda1
  • Handan C Wand1
  • James S Ward6

  • 1 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Program, Kirby Institute, University of New South Wales, Sydney, NSW.
  • 2 Sydney Sexual Health Centre, Sydney Hospital, Sydney, NSW.
  • 3 Sexual Health and Blood Borne Virus Unit, Centre for Disease Control, Department of Health, Darwin, NT.
  • 4 Communicable Disease Control Directorate, Burnet Institute, Melbourne, VIC.
  • 5 Communicable Disease Control Directorate, Public Health Division, Department of Health, Perth, WA.
  • 6 Baker IDI Heart and Diabetes Institute, Alice Springs, NT.

Correspondence: sgraham@kirby.unsw.edu.au

Acknowledgements: 

Simon Graham and James Ward are Aboriginal Australians, and all authors recognise the Land on which this work was done, and thank the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians who contributed to our study. We thank the departments that contribute to the NNDSS.

Competing interests:

No relevant disclosures.

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