Page 6099 - Week 14 - Thursday, 8 December 2011

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(4) As of 9 December 2011, the number of cases of gonorrhoea, chlamydia and syphilis (less than 2 years) for young women and men in the ACT aged 12-25 is as follows:

Gonorrhoea: total number 49

9 women

40 men

Chlamydia: total number 872

503 women

369 men

Syphilis (less than 2 years): only 1 case (man)

(5) It is very difficult to estimate the number of undiagnosed STIs in the ACT. This is because many people can be asymptomatically infected and therefore may never be tested, notified, and counted in surveillance numbers. This may be more of an issue with chlamydia, where a higher proportion of people, especially females, can be asymptomatically infected (up to 70% of females, 1-25% of males). Smaller percentages of gonorrhoea and syphilis cases are asymptomatic. Under-notification is inherent with any surveillance system and with most diseases and only a small proportion of cases will ever seek medical attention. An even smaller number will be tested and notified.

Unfortunately ACT Government data does not include whether the person was symptomatic when tested, nor do we have any data that would be useful in calculating an estimate of undiagnosed cases, so it is very difficult to provide even a rough estimate. However, while the total numbers can give us an indication of the burden of disease, it is more important to identify trends in the behaviour of the cases that are diagnosed to inform prevention strategies. This is especially important for STIs.

The number of undiagnosed cases in the ACT is potentially minimised due to STI screening and contact tracing programs. Many people in the ACT regularly attend the CSHC for STI screening tests (regardless of whether they are symptomatic) or receive a chlamydia test by a health provider when getting a pap smear. Identification of asymptomatic cases is also facilitated by contact tracing which is conducted routinely for gonorrhoea and syphilis, and CSHC has been undertaking a contact tracing program for chlamydia.

Mental health—Official Visitors
(Question No 1950)

Ms Bresnan asked the Minister for Health, upon notice, on 8 December 2011:

(1) How many Official Visitors for Mental Health are there currently.

(2) What is the total annual financial cost of the Official Visitors for Mental Health to the ACT Government.

(3) How many hours per week is each of the Official Visitors for Mental Health required to work.

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