The Morrison Government is rolling out the next stage of the immediate testing and treatment of syphilis in Indigenous communities.

The Minister for Indigenous Health, Ken Wyatt AM, said the rapid point-of-care testing was successfully introduced in two communities in northern Queensland and Darwin in August and would now be rolled out in three other regions from this week.

“The overwhelming feedback from the services in the first stage has been positive and they are reporting good progress during the first two months of its rollout,” Minister Wyatt said.

“The Test and Treat kits will now be distributed to East Arnhem Land and Katherine in the Northern Territory and the Kimberley region in Western Australia.

“This program is part of the Coalition Government’s $8.8 million funding commitment to curb the outbreak of syphilis in our Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities.

“Since the syphilis outbreak started in 2011, there have been more than 2200 reported cases. This is a preventable disease and in this day and age it’s a tragedy that it is so prevalent in some First Nation communities.”

Minister Wyatt said the new tests were a critical weapon in the war against the spread of syphilis.

“Previously, results from traditional blood tests could take up to two weeks to be processed, which caused issues with people moving on before receiving treatment and potentially spreading the disease,” Minister Wyatt said.

“The Test and Treat kits allow instant diagnosis and if needed, immediate treatment.  This is a critical breakthrough in curbing the spread of the disease.

“The Government purchased 62,000 kits which are available to the health services involved.”

Media contact: Ben Houston, Acting Media Adviser 0423 191 945

Authorised by Ken Wyatt AM, MP, Member for Hasluck.