AMA Queensland branch president Dr Richard Kidd says sexually transmitted infections increasing in the region is the indirect effect of a FIFO workforce and miners having unprotected sex.
AMA Queensland branch president Dr Richard Kidd says sexually transmitted infections increasing in the region is the indirect effect of a FIFO workforce and miners having unprotected sex. George Doyle

'Discrepancies' to blame for STIs

SEXUALLY transmitted infections are running rampant in mining towns - and married women are not immune.

Australian Medical Association (AMA) Queensland president Dr Richard Kidd said it was not just young, single miners spreading diseases.

"We're aware of anecdotal reports concerning pregnant women presenting with STIs, being treated, and getting a STI again before pregnancy concludes," Dr Kidd said.

"So presumably their partners are infecting them again."

Dr Kidd said the mix of a large disposable income and boredom meant fly-in, fly-out mine workers were responsible for the increase in cases of STIs in towns like Mackay.

"These increases are not happening on the Gold Coast, it's the rest of Queensland," Dr Kidd said.

"We've seen a doubling of gonorrhoea over four to five years.

"We've seen an increase in syphilis by... two-thirds in that time.

"And chlamydia is up one-third since 2007."

Dr Kidd said there were a number of ways miners were contributing to the rise.

"The STIs increasing in the region is the indirect effect of a FIFO workforce, which is presumably driving to places like Mackay and Moranbah," he said.

"I know miners are having unprotected sex whether with local girls... or from overseas.

Dr Kidd said a lack of doctors and nurses in mining towns was compounding the problem.

"There is no doubt in my mind (mining companies') workforces are putting an increasing burden on already stretched local health services," he said.

"There are difficulties getting doctors into regional and remote areas.

"What a number of companies have done is contribute to communities through new sporting facilities but I am not aware of any support for increased health services where they are... needed."

Last year, there were 2579 cases of chlamydia and 590 cases of gonorrhoea in the Townsville Public Health District, which includes Mackay.

 

MORE CASES

Queensland statistics showing increase in cases from 2007:

Gonorrhoea: 1328 cases in 2007 increasing to 2878 cases in 2011

Chlamydia: 12,696 cases in 2007 to 18,320 in 2011

Syphilis: 200 cases in 2008 to 340 in 2011

HIV: One new diagnosis in 2008, five in 2009 and eight in 2010



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