The Kirby Institute

Title: Estimating incidence and prevalence of sexually transmissible infections in Australia

Industry Partner: The Kirby Institute, University of New South Wales

Project Description:

Incidence and prevalence of an infection are the most important epidemiological measures for understanding the transmission and extent of disease in a population. Reported numbers of diagnoses of notifiable sexually transmissible infections (STIs) in Australia are used to monitor the extent, characteristics, and trends of transmission and burden of disease. Trends in diagnosis rates may not reflect trends in actual incidence. Surveillance systems are highly dependent on rates of testing among populations at higher risk. Testing rates for some STIs have been changing in some Australian populations. The full extent and accurate recent trends in new infections are not clear for STIs in Australia but are of high importance for monitoring progress against National Strategies, for the evaluation of programs and for planning effective prevention responses in populations as well as planning for the care and treatment of infected people. Therefore, it is important to devise a reliable method that uses routinely available data to update these epidemiological measures on a periodic basis.

The aim of this project is to develop statistical and/or models, using inputs from provided data on STIs in Australia, to estimate the prevalence and annual incidence of new infections. Incidence and prevalence estimates are required for different risk groups (e.g. sexually active male and female heterosexuals, men who have sex with men, indigenous Australians) and demographic characteristics (sex, age). STIs that may be considered in this project are chlamydia, gonorrhoea, syphilis, HPV, HSV, HCV and trichomonas.

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