There is an ongoing outbreak of infectious syphilis affecting young Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, predominately aged between 15 and 29 years, living in northern, central, western and southern Australia.
In response to the outbreak, the Australian Government has committed $21.2 million over 4 years to fund an augmented health workforce and point-of-care (POC) testing program in targeted Aboriginal Community-Controlled Health Services (ACCHS) within the affected outbreak regions. The Western Australian government has recently committed funding for the extension of the program to health services across regional and remote Western Australia.
The POC Testing Program is a ‘test and treat’ model using the Determine Syphilis TP™ POC test which generates results in under 15 minutes enabling rapid diagnosis and initiation of treatment. As a result, the test minimises individuals lost to follow-up and reduces the risk of onward transmission of syphilis in the community. Further, it provides alternative access to testing for those unwilling or unable to have venepuncture performed. The Determine Syphilis TP™ test is currently the only syphilis POC test registered by the Therapeutic Goods Administration in Australia.
We acknowledge Jasmin Sarin for the artwork used in this program.
The program commenced in July 2018. There has been a staggered roll-out of services across Qld, NT, WA and SA and there are currently 88 health services enrolled in the program.
The program commenced in July 2020 and there are 47 health services enrolled in regional and remote Western Australia.
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