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NSW Public Health Bulletin archive

Guarding against an HIV epidemic within an Aboriginal community and cultural framework; lessons from NSW Volume 21 Issue 3-4

James Ward, Snehal P. Akre, John M. Kaldor

New South Wales Public Health Bulletin 21(4) 78–82 Published online: 27 May 2010

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About the author/s

James Ward

Snehal P. Akre

John M. Kaldor


The rate of HIV diagnosis in the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander population in Australia has been stable over the past 5 years. It is similar to the rate in non-Indigenous people overall, but there are major differences in the demographical and behaviour patterns associated with infection, with a history of injecting drug use and heterosexual contact much more prominent in Aboriginal people with HIV infection. Moreover there are a range of factors, such as social disadvantage, a higher incidence of sexually transmitted infections and poor access to health services that place Aboriginal people at special risk of HIV infection. Mainstream and Aboriginal community-controlled health services have an important role in preventing this epidemic. Partnerships developed within NSW have supported a range of services for Aboriginal people. There is a continuing need to support these services in their response to HIV, with a particular focus on Aboriginal Sexual Health Workers, to ensure that the prevention of HIV remains a high priority.