Each year, the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Program collaborates with the Surveillance and Evaluation Program for Public Health on the Blood borne viral and sexually transmissible infections in Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander peoples: Annual Surveillance Report.
This surveillance report provides information on the occurrence of blood borne viruses and sexually transmitted infections among Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander peoples in Australia for the purposes of stimulating and supporting discussion on ways forward in minimising the transmission risks, as well as the personal and social consequences of these infections within Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander communities. The report is produced in a format that is recognised as appropriate for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health services and communities, and is overseen by the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander reference group, National Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation (NACCHO) Sexual Health and Blood Borne Virus Advisory Committee.
You can explore the findings from this report on our interactive data site.
- In 2021, testing, diagnosis, and treatment of STIs and BBVs continued to be influenced by the COVID‑19 pandemic. The decline in sexually transmissible infections and blood borne virus notifications between 2019 and 2021 was likely to have been influenced by changes to sexual behaviour, healthcare access, testing practices, and travel, that have arisen as a consequence of the COVID‑19 pandemic.
- The HIV notification rate in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples declined by 53% between 2012 and 2021. In 2021, the HIV notification rate among Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples (2.3 per 100 000) was close to that of non‑Indigenous people (2.2 per 100 000). The HIV notification rate among Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples is based on small numbers of HIV notifications (17 notifications) so should be interpreted with caution.
- No declines in the hepatitis C notification rate were seen among Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples in 2021, compared with declines seen among non‑Indigenous people, including among people aged 15 to 24 years, the age group used a proxy for the incidence of hepatitis C infection.
- The declining trend in hepatitis B notifications in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples younger than 30 years suggests that immunisation programs for hepatitis B have had a clear benefit and have reduced the gap in hepatitis B notification rates between Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and non‑Indigenous people.
- In 2021, STI notification rates remained higher among Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples than among non‑Indigenous people: infectious syphilis and gonorrhoea were more than five times as high, and chlamydia was more than three times as high.