Aboriginal children get STDs21st December 2007
Australian health authorities have reported alarming rates of sexually transmitted infections in children in the country's Northern Territory.
The figures, reported by the Australian Medical Association (AMA), show a total of 41 children under the age of 10 with gonorrhoea, 41 with chlamydia, five with syphilis and 40 with trichomoniasis in the first six months of this year.
They included a case of gonorrhoea and one case of chlamydia in children under four.
A further five children aged five to nine were diagnosed with sexually transmitted infections.
Published by the sexual health and blood-borne viruses department, the figures also showed a high incidence of sexual infections among the Aboriginal community, with more than 800 cases of gonorrhoea compared with just 53 cases in the non-indigenous community.
Meanwhile, 66% of all chlamydia infections, and 92% of syphilis cases were found in the indigenous community.
The figures come against the background of recent attempts to combat child sex abuse in indigenous communities.
Northern Territory AMA president Peter Beaumont said he was horrified by the statistics.
The government reforms were sparked by a recent investigation into sexual abuse of Aboriginal children. Beaumont said it had showed that sexual abuse of children in indigenous communities was 'rife'.
The report found evidence of child sex abuse in all 45 communities it visited.
Beaumont said the Northern Territory Government needed to improve sexual health education among Aboriginal populations, by starting the education process much younger.
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Title: Aboriginal children get STDs
Author: Luisetta Mudie
Article Id: 5172
Date Added: 21st Dec 2007