Infectious Diseases - Research Publications

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    "You Can't Replace That Feeling of Connection to Culture and Country": Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Parents' Experiences of the COVID-19 Pandemic
    Kennedy, M ; Bright, T ; Graham, S ; Heris, C ; Bennetts, SKK ; Fiolet, R ; Davis, E ; Jones, KAA ; Mohamed, J ; Atkinson, C ; Chamberlain, C (MDPI, 2022-12-01)
    This Aboriginal-led study explores Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander parents' experiences of COVID-19. 110 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander parents were interviewed between October 2020 and March 2022. Participants were recruited through community networks and partner health services in South Australia, Victoria, and Northern Territory, Australia. Participants were predominantly female (89%) and based in Victoria (47%) or South Australia (45%). Inductive thematic analysis identified three themes: (1) Changes to daily living; (2) Impact on social and emotional wellbeing; and (3) Disconnection from family, community, and culture. COVID-19 impacted Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander families. Disruption to cultural practice, and disconnection from country, family, and community was detrimental to wellbeing. These impacts aggravated pre-existing inequalities and may continue to have greater impact on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander parents and communities due to intergenerational trauma, stemming from colonisation, violence and dispossession and ongoing systemic racism. We advocate for the development of a framework that ensures an equitable approach to future public health responses for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.
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    Key features of a trauma-informed public health emergency approach: A rapid review
    Heris, CL ; Kennedy, M ; Graham, S ; Bennetts, SK ; Atkinson, C ; Mohamed, J ; Woods, C ; Chennall, R ; Chamberlain, C (FRONTIERS MEDIA SA, 2022-11-28)
    COVID-19 is a major threat to public safety, and emergency public health measures to protect lives (e.g., lockdown, social distancing) have caused widespread disruption. While these measures are necessary to prevent catastrophic trauma and grief, many people are experiencing heightened stress and fear. Public health measures, risks of COVID-19 and stress responses compound existing inequities in our community. First Nations communities are particularly at risk due to historical trauma, ongoing socio-economic deprivation, and lack of trust in government authorities as a result of colonization. The objective of this study was to review evidence for trauma-informed public health emergency responses to inform development of a culturally-responsive trauma-informed public health emergency framework for First Nations communities. We searched relevant databases from 1/1/2000 to 13/11/2020 inclusive, which identified 40 primary studies (and eight associated references) for inclusion in this review. Extracted data were subjected to framework and thematic synthesis. No studies reported evaluations of a trauma-informed public health emergency response. However, included studies highlighted key elements of a "trauma-informed lens," which may help to consider implications, reduce risks and foster a sense of security, wellbeing, self- and collective-efficacy, hope and resilience for First Nations communities during COVID-19. We identified key elements for minimizing the impact of compounding trauma on First Nations communities, including: a commitment to equity and human rights, cultural responsiveness, good communication, and positive leadership. The six principles guiding trauma-informed culturally-responsive public health emergency frameworks included: (i) safety, (ii) empowerment, (iii) holistic support, (iv) connectedness and collaboration, (v) compassion and caring, and (vi) trust and transparency in multi-level responses, well-functioning social systems, and provision of basic services. These findings will be discussed with First Nations public health experts, together with data on the experiences of First Nations families and communities during COVID-19, to develop a trauma-integrated public health emergency response framework or "lens" to minimize compounding trauma for First Nations communities.
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    The urban-remote divide for Indigenous perinatal outcomes
    Graham, S ; Pulver, LRJ ; Wang, YA ; Kelly, PM ; Laws, PJ ; Grayson, N ; Sullivan, EA (WILEY, 2007-05-21)
    OBJECTIVE: To determine whether remoteness category of residence of Indigenous women affects the perinatal outcomes of their newborn infants. DESIGN AND PARTICIPANTS: A population-based study of 35 240 mothers identified as Indigenous and their 35 658 babies included in the National Perinatal Data Collection in 2001-2004. MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: Australian Standard Geographical Classification remoteness category, birthweight, Apgar score at 5 minutes, stillbirth, gestational age and a constructed measure of perinatal outcomes of babies called "healthy baby" (live birth, singleton, 37-41 completed weeks' gestation, 2500-4499 g birthweight, and an Apgar score at 5 minutes >or= 7). RESULTS: The proportion of healthy babies in remote, regional and city areas was 74.9%, 77.7% and 77.6%, respectively. After adjusting for age, parity, smoking and diabetes or hypertension, babies born to mothers in remote areas were less likely to satisfy the study criteria of being a healthy baby (adjusted odds ratio [AOR], 0.87; 95% CI, 0.81-0.93) compared with those born in cities. Babies born to mothers living in remote areas had higher odds of being of low birthweight (AOR, 1.09; 95% CI, 1.01-1.19) and being born with an Apgar score < 7 at 5 minutes (AOR, 1.63; 95% CI, 1.39-1.92). CONCLUSIONS: Only three in four babies born to Indigenous mothers fell into the "healthy baby" category, and those born in more remote areas were particularly disadvantaged. These findings demonstrate the continuing need for urgent and concerted action to address the persistent perinatal inequity in the Indigenous population.
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    Epidemiology of chlamydia and gonorrhoea among Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians, 2000-2009
    Graham, S ; Guy, RJ ; Donovan, B ; McManus, H ; Su, J-Y ; El-Hayek, C ; Kwan, KSH ; Dyda, A ; Wand, HC ; Ward, JS (WILEY, 2012-12-01)
    OBJECTIVES: To assess notification trends for chlamydia and gonorrhoea infections in Indigenous Australians compared with non-Indigenous Australians in 2000-2009. DESIGN AND SETTING: We assessed trends in national notification rates using univariate Poisson regression and summary rate ratios. MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: Crude notification rates and summary rate ratios, by Indigenous status, sex, age and area of residence. RESULTS: Over the 10-2012 period studied, chlamydia notification rates per 100,000 increased by 80% from 1383 in 2000 to 2494 in 2009 among Indigenous people, and by 335% from 51 in 2000 to 222 in 2009 among non-Indigenous people. The Indigenous versus non-Indigenous summary rate ratio was 23.92 (95% CI, 23.65-24.19; P<0.001). Gonorrhoea notification rates per 100,000 increased by 22% from 1347 in 2000 to 1643 in 2009 among Indigenous people, and by 70% from 10 in 2000 to 17 in 2009 among non-Indigenous people. The gonorrhoea summary notification rate ratio in Indigenous compared with non-Indigenous people was 173.78 (95% CI, 170.81-176.80; P<0.001). In Indigenous people, the highest chlamydia and gonorrhoea notification rates were in women, 15-19-2012-olds, and those living in remote areas. CONCLUSIONS: Chlamydia and gonorrhoea notification rates have increased in both populations but were higher among Indigenous people. Our findings highlight the need for targeted prevention programs for young people, especially Indigenous Australians residing in remote areas.
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    Attendance patterns and chlamydia and gonorrhoea testing among young people in Aboriginal primary health centres in New South Wales, Australia
    Graham, S ; Wand, HC ; Ward, JS ; Knox, J ; McCowen, D ; Bullen, P ; Booker, J ; O'Brien, C ; Garrett, K ; Donovan, B ; Kaldor, J ; Guy, RJ (CSIRO Publishing, 2015-07-27)
    Background: To inform a sexual health quality improvement program we examined chlamydia and gonorrhoea testing rates among 15–29 year olds attending Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Services (ACCHS) in New South Wales, Australia, and factors associated with chlamydia and gonorrhoea testing. Methods: From 2009 to 2011, consultation and testing data were extracted from four ACCHS. Over the study period, we calculated the median number of consultations per person and interquartile range (IQR), the proportion attending (overall and annually), the proportion tested for chlamydia and gonorrhoea, and those who tested positive. We examined factors associated with chlamydia and gonorrhoea testing using logistic regression. Results: Overall, 2896 15–29-year-olds attended the ACCHSs, 1223 were male and 1673 were female. The median number of consultations was five (IQR 2–12), four (IQR 1–8) for males and seven (IQR 3–14) for females (P < 0.001). Nineteen percent of males and 32% of females attended in each year of the study (P < 0.001). Overall, 17% were tested for chlamydia (10% of males and 22% of females, P < 0.001), and 7% were tested annually (3% of males and 11% of females, P < 0.001). Findings were similar for gonorrhoea testing. In the study period, 10% tested positive for chlamydia (14% of males and 9% of females, P < 0.001) and 0.6% for gonorrhoea. Factors independently associated with chlamydia testing were being female (adjusted odds ratio (AOR) 2.64, 95% confidence interval (CI) 2.07–3.36), being 20–24 years old (AOR: 1.58, 95% CI: 1.20–2.08), and having >3 consultations (AOR: 16.97, 95% CI: 10.32–27.92). Conclusions: More frequent attendance was strongly associated with being tested for chlamydia and gonorrhoea. To increase testing, ACCHS could develop testing strategies and encourage young people to attend more frequently.
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    Prevalence of chlamydia, gonorrhoea, syphilis and trichomonas in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians: a systematic review and meta-analysis
    Graham, S ; Smith, LW ; Fairley, CK ; Hocking, J (CSIRO PUBLISHING, 2016-01-01)
    Higher notification rates of sexually transmissible infections (STIs) are reported among Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander (Aboriginal) compared with non-Aboriginal people in Australia. The aim of this study is to estimate the pooled prevalence of chlamydia, gonorrhoea, syphilis and trichomonas among Aboriginal people in Australia by sex, age-group, setting (clinic vs population/community-based) and population group [adults, pregnant females, young people (12-29 years) and prisoners]. The databases Medline, PubMed and Web of Science were searched in May 2015. A meta-analysis was conducted to estimate the pooled prevalence of the four STIs in Aboriginal people and if possible, by gender, age-group, setting and population group. A total of 46 studies were included. The pooled prevalence was 11.2% (95%CI: 9.4-13.0%) for chlamydia (36 studies), 12.5% (95%CI: 10.5-14.6%) for gonorrhoea (28 studies), 16.8% (95%CI: 11.0-22.6%) for syphilis (13 studies) and 22.6% (95%CI: 18.5-26.7%) for trichomonas (11 studies); however, there was significant heterogeneity between studies (I(2) <97.5%, P<0.01). In the subgroup analysis, a higher pooled prevalence occurred in females than males for chlamydia (12.7% vs 7.7%) and gonorrhoea (10.7% vs 8.1%). The prevalence of chlamydia was 12.4% in clinic-based compared with 4.3% in population-based studies. The highest pooled prevalence by population group was among pregnant females (16.8%) and young people (16.2%) for chlamydia, pregnant females (25.2%) for trichomonas; and young people for gonorrhoea (11.9%). This review highlights the need to decrease the prevalence of STIs among Aboriginal people through community-based programs that target asymptomatic young people.
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    Human papillomavirus vaccination and genital warts in young Indigenous Australians: national sentinel surveillance data
    Ali, H ; McManus, H ; O'Connor, CC ; Callander, D ; Kong, M ; Graham, S ; Saulo, D ; Fairley, CK ; Regan, DG ; Grulich, A ; Low, N ; Guy, RJ ; Donovan, B (Australasian Medical Publishing Company, 2017-03-20)
    OBJECTIVES: To examine the impact of the national human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccination program (available to girls and women [12-26 years] since 2007 and to boys [12-15 years] since 2013) on the number of diagnoses of genital warts in Australian Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander (Indigenous) people. DESIGN, SETTING, PARTICIPANTS: Analysis of routinely collected data from patients attending 39 sexual health clinics (SHCs) in the Genital Warts Surveillance Network for the first time.Major outcome: The average annual proportion of Indigenous and non-Indigenous SHC patients diagnosed with genital warts during the pre-vaccination (2004-2007) and vaccination periods (2008-2014), stratified by age group and sex. RESULTS: 7.3% of the 215 599 Australian-born patients with known Indigenous status and seen for the first time at participating SHCs during 2004-2014 were Indigenous Australians. The average proportion of female Indigenous patients diagnosed with warts was lower during the vaccination period than during the pre-vaccination period (in those under 21, summary rate ratio [SRR], 0.12; 95% CI, 0.07-0.21; P < 0.001); in 21-30-year olds: SRR, 0.41; 95% CI, 0.27-0.61; P < 0.001); there was no significant difference for women over 30 (SRR, 0.84; 95% CI, 0.51-1.36; P = 0.47). The proportion of male Indigenous heterosexual SHC patients under 21 diagnosed with warts was also lower during the vaccination period (SRR, 0.25; 95% CI, 0.12-0.49; P < 0.001), with no significant changes among older Indigenous men over 30. CONCLUSIONS: There were marked declines in the proportions of diagnoses of genital warts in young Indigenous women and men attending SHCs after the introduction of the HPV vaccination program. If high levels of HPV vaccine coverage are sustained, HPV-related cancer rates should also decline.
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    Prevalence of HIV among Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians: a systematic review and meta-analysis
    GRAHAM, S ; O'Connor, C ; Morgan, S ; Chamberlain, C ; Hocking, J (Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization Publishing, 2017)
    Background: Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders (Aboriginal) are Australia’s first peoples. Between 2006 and 2015, HIV notifications increased among Aboriginal people; however, among non-Aboriginal people, notifications remained relatively stable. This systematic review and meta-analysis aims to examine the prevalence of HIV among Aboriginal people overall and by subgroups. Methods: In November 2015, a search of PubMed and Web of Science, grey literature and abstracts from conferences was conducted. A study was included if it reported the number of Aboriginal people tested and those who tested positive for HIV. The following variables were extracted: gender; Aboriginal status; population group (men who have sex with men, people who inject drugs, adults, youth in detention and pregnant females) and geographical location. An assessment of between study heterogeneity (I2 test) and within study bias (selection, measurement and sample size) was also conducted. Results: Seven studies were included; all were cross-sectional study designs. The overall sample size was 3772 and the prevalence of HIV was 0.1% (I2 = 38.3%, P = 0.136). Five studies included convenient samples of people attending Australian Needle and Syringe Program Centres, clinics, hospitals and a youth detention centre, increasing the potential of selection bias. Four studies had a sample size, thus decreasing the ability to report pooled estimates. Conclusions: The prevalence of HIV among Aboriginal people in Australia is low. Community-based programs that include both prevention messages for those at risk of infection and culturally appropriate clinical management and support for Aboriginal people living with HIV are needed to prevent HIV increasing among Aboriginal people.
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    Trends in hepatitis C antibody prevalence among Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people attending Australian Needle and Syringe Programs, 1996-2015
    Graham, S ; Maher, L ; Wand, H ; Doyle, M ; Iversen, J (ELSEVIER, 2017-09-01)
    BACKGROUND: Research indicates that hepatitis C antibody (anti-HCV) prevalence is higher among Australian Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander (Aboriginal) than non-Aboriginal people who inject drugs (PWID). We examined trends in demographic and drug use characteristics and anti-HCV prevalence among Australian Needle and Syringe Program Survey (ANSPS) respondents by Aboriginal status from 1996 to 2015. METHODS: The ANSPS survey involved collecting demographic, behavioural data and a dried blood spot for anti-HCV testing. We used logistic regression to determine demographic and behavioural factors associated with testing anti-HCV positive in the following time-periods (1996-2000, 2001-2005, 2006-2010, 2011-2015) among Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal PWID respondents. RESULTS: Overall, there were 16,948 PWID, with 11% identifying as Aboriginal. The proportion of Aboriginal respondents increased from 7% in 1996-2000 to 16% in 2011-2015. Overall anti-HCV prevalence was significantly higher among Aboriginal (60%) than non-Aboriginal PWID (52%, p<0.01). Receptive syringe sharing (RSS) declined among non-Aboriginal PWID (p<0.001) over time, however among Aboriginal PWID, RSS remained stable (p=0.619). Factors independently associated with testing positive for anti-HCV among Aboriginal PWID in 2011-2015 were 16 or more years since first injection (adjusted odds ratio [AOR] 6.04, p<0.001), history of incarceration (AOR: 1.74, p=0.010) and currently or previously on opioid substitution therapy (AOR: 1.89, p=0.003). Compared to 1996-2000, testing anti-HCV positive was significantly associated with the time-periods: 2001-2005 (unadjusted odds ratio [OR]: 1.39, p<0.001), 2006-2010 (OR: 1.38, p<0.001) and 2011-2015 (OR: 1.25, p<0.001) among non-Aboriginal PWID; however this increase did not occur among Aboriginal PWID. CONCLUSION: The proportion of Aboriginal PWID attending Needle Syringe Programs appears to have increased. Overall, the prevalence of anti-HCV has remained higher among Aboriginal than non-Aboriginal PWID. Coupling increased access to NSPs with new interferon-free HCV treatments and culturally appropriate education and counselling services could influence new HCV infections among Aboriginal PWID.
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    Sexually Transmitted Infections Among Young Men Who Have Sex with Men: Experiences with Diagnosis, Treatment, and Reinfection
    Feinstein, BA ; Dellucci, TV ; Graham, S ; Parsons, JT ; Mustanski, B (SPRINGER, 2018-06-01)
    Despite high rates of sexually transmitted infections (STIs) among young men who have sex with men (YMSM), little is known about their experiences with diagnosis, treatment, and reinfection. To fill this gap, we interviewed 17 YMSM ages 18-29 who participated in an online HIV prevention trial and tested positive for STIs at both the baseline and three-month follow-up assessments. Participants were asked about their reactions to testing positive, experiences with treatment, disclosure to partners, and changes in thinking and behavior. Reactions were diverse, the most common being surprise and concern. Most participants sought treatment, although type of provider varied (e.g., primary care physician, clinic that specialized in gay/bisexual men's health). Providers tended to re-test participants, but some did so at the incorrect anatomical site. Participants who felt comfortable talking to providers about STIs tended to use their regular provider or one who specialized in gay/bisexual men's health. Most participants described changes in their thinking and behavior (e.g., increased condom use, decreased sex partners, questioning their partners' trust). Most participants disclosed to at least one partner, but some did not remember or were not in contact with partners. Experiences were similar the first and second time participants tested positive for STIs during the study with a few exceptions (e.g., more self-blame and comfort talking to providers the second time). In sum, YMSM have diverse experiences with STI diagnosis and treatment. Implications for public policy and STI prevention are discussed.