Aborigines Have Higher STD Rates Than General Australian Population

Aborigines in Australia have higher rates of sexually transmitted diseases such as gonorrhea, syphilis, and chlamydia than the country’s general population, according to research by the University of New South Wales’ Kirby Institute and reported on Tuesday at a sexual health conference, the Associated Press/Seattle Times reports.

James Ward, head of the Kirby Institute’s indigenous health program, “noted the Aboriginal population is far younger than the Australian average and STDs disproportionately infect younger people,” the news agency writes, adding he “said Aborigines also lacked knowledge about STDs and health workers often focused on more pressing health needs in their disease-ravaged communities.” Ward also said reaching the population with health campaigns was difficult because many live in remote areas of the Outback, according to the AP. However, he noted he felt an effort to hang decorated canisters filled with condoms on trees where people can procure them anonymously is working, the AP states (McGuirk, 9/26).