Effects of STIs funding cutbacks in NSW
QAIHC Chair Elizabeth Adams is calling on the Australian Government to take a lead from the Queensland Government and review its decision to withdraw funding of $2.3 million to sexual health programs in New South Wales Aboriginal and Strait Islander communities.
Ms Adams said the Palaszczuk Government recently announced $15.7 million over three years to address a spike in syphilis and other STIs in North Queensland, which worsened after the Newman Government withdrew funding for sexual health programs.
“We only have to look at data from the Kirby Institute Surveillance Report that shows HIV infection rates among Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander populations are highest in Queensland and New South Wales, so the Australian Government really needs to question why it would choose to cut back on funding right now" Ms Adams said.
“This decision will inevitably reduce Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people’s access to services, including awareness and prevention education, testing, management and treatment, and there will be increased notifications of infections.”
Ms Adams said Aboriginal and Torres Strait Community Controlled Health Services and other organisations involved in sexual health service provision, education and awareness relied on funding to provide vital, culturally appropriate services to Aboriginal people.