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RESEARCH ARTICLE

Are Australian sexual health clinics attracting priority populations?

Hammad Ali A K , Basil Donovan A B , Christopher K. Fairley C D , Nathan Ryder E , Anna McNulty B , Marcus Y. Chen C D , Lewis Marshall F , Catherine C. O’Connor A G H , Bridget Dickson I , Andrew E. Grulich A , Margaret E. Hellard J , John M. Kaldor A , Rebecca J. Guy A and on behalf of the ACCESS Collaboration

A The Kirby Institute, University of New South Wales, Sydney, NSW 2052, Australia.

B Sydney Sexual Health Centre, Sydney Hospital, Macquarie Street, Sydney, NSW 2000, Australia.

C Melbourne Sexual Health Centre, 580 Swanston Street, Carlton, Vic. 3053, Australia.

D Melbourne School of Population and Global Health, University of Melbourne, Parkville, Vic. 3010, Australia.

E Clinic 34, 87 Mitchell St, Darwin, NT 0800, Australia.

F Fremantle Hospital, Alma Street, Fremantle, WA 6160, Australia.

G RPA Sexual Health Service, Royal Prince Alfred Hospital, 16 Marsden Street, Camperdown, NSW 2050, Australia.

H Central Clinical School, University of Sydney, Sydney, NSW 2006, Australia.

I CaraData Pty Ltd, Parkwood, Qld 4214, Australia.

J Centre for Population Health, Burnett Institute, 85 Commercial Rd, Melbourne, Vic. 3004, Australia.

K Corresponding author. Email: hali@kirby.usnw.edu.au

Sexual Health 10(5) 456-459 http://dx.doi.org/10.1071/SH13066
Submitted: 30 April 2013  Accepted: 27 June 2013   Published: 21 August 2013

Abstract

To answer a key question (‘Are Australian sexual health clinics attracting priority populations?’), we used data from 44 Australian sexual health clinics between 2004 and 2011. We assessed the proportion of patients that were from priority populations (deemed to be at risk of sexually transmissible infections) and compared this to their proportions in the general population using data from Australian Bureau of Statistics and the Australian Study of Health and Relationships. A χ2-test was used. A total of 278 154 new patients attended during 2004–2011. The proportions from each priority population were significantly higher (P < 0.01 for all) than for the general population: young people aged 15–29 years (58.1% v. 20.1%), men who have sex with men (26.0% v. 6.0%), female sex workers (10.8% v. 0.5%), and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people (4.2% v. 2.3%). This study confirms that Australian sexual health clinics attract higher proportions of priority populations and are thus meeting their mandate as defined in the 2010–2013 National Sexually Transmissible Infections Strategy.

Additional keywords: Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander, at-risk populations, men who have sex with men, sex workers, sexually transmissible infections, young people.


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