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RESEARCH ARTICLE

Deadly Liver Mob: opening the door – improving sexual health pathways for Aboriginal people in Western Sydney

Karen Biggs A B , Jennifer Walsh A D and Catriona Ooi A C
+ Author Affiliations
- Author Affiliations

A Western Sydney Sexual Health Centre, Western Sydney Local Health District, 162 Marsden Street, Parramatta, NSW 2150, Australia.

B Sydney Nursing School, University of Sydney, 88 Mallett Street, Camperdown, NSW 2050, Australia.

C Sydney Medical School – Westmead, University of Sydney, NSW 2006, Australia.

D Corresponding author. Email: Jennifer.walsh@health.nsw.gov.au

Sexual Health 13(5) 457-464 https://doi.org/10.1071/SH15176
Submitted: 4 September 2015  Accepted: 4 May 2016   Published: 4 July 2016

Abstract

Background: The Deadly Liver Mob project (DLM) is an incentive-based, peer-driven health promotion intervention for Aboriginal people, focusing on hepatitis C and offering education and screening for sexually transmissible infections (STI) and blood-borne viruses (BBV). This study aims to assess the DLM effect on attendance and STI/BBV screening, describe BBV risk factors and report infection rates among Aboriginal people attending Western Sydney Sexual Health Centre (WSSHC). Methods: A retrospective review of Aboriginal clients during the first year of the DLM project was compared with Aboriginal clients who attended during the 5.3 years before implementation of the project. Data on attendance, screening rates, demographics, lifestyle information and STI/BBV results were extracted. Results: There was a 10-fold increase in the number of Aboriginal people attending, via the DLM project (P < 0.01). The DLM group were more likely to be male (47 vs 28%), ≥ 35 years (46 vs 27%), report injecting drug use (IDU) (43 vs 26%), a history of incarceration (48 vs 24%) or unsafe tattooing (36 vs 16%) and have comprehensive STI/BBV testing (85 vs 54%); (P < 0.01 for all). There were 79 positive results and 30 commenced hepatitis B vaccination in the DLM period, compared with 15 and 19, in the non-DLM period. Conclusions: The DLM project effectively increased sexual healthcare attendance and screening for Aboriginal people in Western Sydney. The DLM has fostered ongoing care and facilitated service engagement for individuals at high risk of contracting STIs and BBVs.

Additional keywords: blood-borne viruses, incentives, incentive-based, Indigenous health, Needle Syringe Program (NSP), peer-referral, sexually transmissible infections.


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