вторник, 10 июня 2008 г.

Child sex-disease infections fall after federal intervention

THE federal intervention in the Northern Territory has led to a decline in new notifications of sexually transmitted infections among children.

The Northern Territory Government's latest surveillance update on sexual health and blood-borne viruses revealed that 62 children aged under 14 were diagnosed with sexually transmitted infections in the Territory in the first six months of the intervention. Three of the children diagnosed with chlamydia between July and December last year were under the age of 10.

The figures also showed that total diagnoses of chlamydia, gonorrhoea, syphilis and trichomoniasis declined in the second half of last year, compared with the first half, following the intervention. The Territory's rates of sexual disease among both the Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal population still soar above the rest of the nation.

Between January and June last year, five children under 10 were diagnosed with chlamydia, compared with three diagnoses of children under 10 between June and December.

Rates of gonorrhoea also declined, with 40 diagnoses of children aged between 10 and 14 between January and June, compared with 27 diagnoses in the latter half of last year.

However, the report revealed that total new notifications of chlamydia and syphilis were higher overall last year. In contrast, new notifications of gonorrhea last year had declined by 8.2per cent compared with the previous year.

The latest figures showed that of the 932 new chlamydia notifications in the Territory in the first six months of the intervention, 20 of the cases were diagnosed in children under 14. Seventeen of those cases were among children aged between 10 and 14.

Two children aged between 10 and 14 were diagnosed with syphilis in the same period, the report revealed. There were 27 new notifications of gonorrhea among children aged between 10 and 14, and 12 cases of the STI trichomoniasis. One case of trichomoniasis was diagnosed in a child under the age of10.

The Alice Springs district -- which takes in remote central Australian communities first targeted under the emergency intervention -- had overwhelmingly high notifications of STIs, particularly gonorrhea and syphilis, between July and December last year.

The latest figures follow earlier data, released in December last year.

Diagnoses of STIs in the Aboriginal population was massively higher than for other ethnic groups, the surveillance report said.

The rate of notification of gonorrhea among Aboriginal people in the Territory was 51.7 times the national rate.

Among the non-Aboriginal population, the rate of gonorrhea notification last year in the Territory was twice the national average. Among the cases of syphilis diagnosed last year, 90per cent of new diagnoses occurred in the Aboriginal population, whose rate of syphilis infection was 26.9 times the non-Aboriginal rate.

Chlamydia was the most commonly diagnosed sexually transmitted infection in the Territory.

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