26 September 2023

Health plans to cure transmissible infections

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NSW Health has launched a plan to bring down the level of transmissible infections in certain rates across the State as well as help reduce their impacts.

Chief Health Officer Dr Kerry Chant said the NSW Sexually Transmissible Infections Strategy 2022-2026 was a new long-term roadmap to encourage prevention, regular testing and to enable better access to timely treatment for people affected by them.

“One in six people are likely to have an STI at some point in their lives,” Dr Chant said.

“If you are sexually active, it’s important to use preventative measures such as condoms, get tested regularly, and seek treatment early so you can stay healthy and protect the wider community from infection,” she said.

“Sexual health is an important part of health and wellbeing.”

If left untreated, STIs posed a significant risk to reproductive health and Dr Chant said it could lead to harmful outcomes for mothers and babies, neonatal infections, cancer and increased risk of other infections.

She said that while NSW was a world leader in responding to STIs – with HIV notifications having dropped to their lowest levels on record – data showed some STI rates had increased.

“Rates of infectious syphilis have doubled since 2016 from 11.2 notifications per 100,000 people, to 21.2 per 100,000 people in 2021,” Dr Chant said.

“The Strategy sets out four key focus areas to achieve ambitious targets, which include the elimination of congenital syphilis and reduction of syphilis and gonorrhoea notification rates by five per cent by 2026,” she said.

She said the four key focus areas were prevent, test, treat, and equity and access to services.

NSW Health’s 34-page Strategy can be accessed at this PS News link.

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