Enhanced Syphilis Response


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 and southern Australia.

In response, NACCHO, Flinders University and the Australian Government Department of Health are working together to coordinate a $21.2 million response over 4 years (2017-18 to 2020-2021) to fund an augmented health workforce and point-of-care testing  (PoCT) in targeted Aboriginal Community-Controlled Health Services (ACCHS) within the affected outbreak regions.

This will address the disproportionately high rates of syphilis and other Blood-Borne Viruses and Sexually Transmissible Infections in regional and remote Indigenous communities.

The use of PoCT and a ‘test and treat’ model reduces time to initiating treatment and contact tracing, minimises individuals lost to follow-up and provides access to testing for those uncomfortable 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 and has been selected for use in the outbreak response.

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The test involves a finger prick or venous blood sample on a test strip:

For more information please contact the NACCHO Enhanced Syphilis Response National Coordinator, call 02 6246 9324 or visit the Australian Government Department of Health’s Infectious syphilis outbreak page.