Disproportionate rates of STI diagnosis (chlamydia, gonorrhoea, infectious syphilis and hepatitis B) occur among Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, particularly in remote and very remote communities.
Lead investigator of the Centre for Research Excellence in Aboriginal Sexual Health and Blood Borne Viruses, James is working with communities to improve rates of Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs) and Blood Borne Viruses.
‘In many of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities, particularly the more remote you go, the burden of disease related to STIs and blood born viruses is greater,’ he explained.
‘We have this really impending threat of HIV increasing in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities, which it never has in the last 30 years.’
Working with five clinical hubs around Australia, James is looking at how to improve health services. He hopes to establish a national surveillance network of 40-50 Aboriginal health services.
‘Once we get that network up and running we’ll have a much better understanding of how to drive improvements in clinical practice and improve clinical guidelines to bring down these rates of STIs in remote communities.
‘It’s not just going to be government who can fix up the gap in Indigenous health—it’s research, it’s government policy, it’s community organisations—and all of us together need to contribute to closing the gap.’
He shared his research with us.