Health plans to cure communicable infections

NSW Health has launched a plan to reduce the level of communicable infections in certain percentages in the state and help reduce their impact.

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

“One in six people will have an STD at some point in their lives,” says Dr Chant.

“If you’re sexually active, it’s important to take preventive 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 wellness.”

If left untreated, STDs pose a significant risk to reproductive health, and Dr. Chant said it could lead to harmful effects on mothers and babies, neonatal infections, cancer and an increased risk of other infections.

She said that while NSW was a global leader in responding to STIs — with HIV reports falling to their lowest levels — data showed some STI rates had risen.

“The rate of infectious syphilis has doubled since 2016 from 11.2 reports per 100,000 people to 21.2 per 100,000 people in 2021,” said Dr Chant.

“The strategy outlines four key focus areas to achieve ambitious goals, including the elimination of congenital syphilis and reducing the number of reports of syphilis and gonorrhea by five percent by 2026,” she said.

She said the four main focus areas were prevention, testing, treatment and equality and access to services.

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

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