australian govt cuts funding
Last Updated : GMT 17:34:35
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Last Updated : GMT 17:34:35
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Australian gov't cuts funding

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Emiratesvoice, emirates voice Australian gov't cuts funding

Sexual health
Sydeny - Xinhua

The federal government of Australia will cease funding an Indigenous sexual health program that has been running in Queensland state for 21 years, the Australian Federal Health Department told the Queensland AIDS council in a statement Tuesday afternoon.

The 2 Spirits sexual health program distributes HIV medications and promotes information regarding safe sex practices in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities.

With sexually transmitted diseases like gonorrhea 18 times higher among the indigenous population, Australian Labor Party member of parliament Terri Butler told local media, "Now is not the time to be axing a program aimed at sexual health in indigenous communities."

Overall rates of sexually transmitted diseases are 20 times higher among indigenous Australians, with chlamydia three times higher and syphilis four times more prevalent than non-indigenous.

The hardest hit by the funding cuts will be those in the LGBTI community, according to the AIDS Council, where the stigma of homosexuality often prevents Indigenous people seeking treatment.

"What we've found is building trust and a rapport over time is what is needed," AIDS Council Director Michael Scott said.

"The time is right for a comprehensive investment in indigenous health."

Last year, The Department of Health extended funding for the AIDS Council, offering 400,000 Australian dollars (300,000 U.S) over 12 months while the government "explore more sustainable alternatives."

That funding is set to end on June 30, 2017.

source: Xinhua

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