Aborigines 'should increase condom use'

An increase in condom use could be on the cards for Aborigines after it was revealed this group suffers higher rates of sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) than other Australians.

Research carried out by the University of New South Wales' Kirby Institute - which was formerly the National Centre in HIV Epidemiology and Clinical Research - revealed 804 Aborigines out of every 100,000 were diagnosed with gonorrhoea last year, the Associated Press reports.

This rate was almost 27 times greater than that recorded for the wider Australian community, which stood at 30 per 100,000.

In addition, the diagnosis rate for infectious syphilis was five times higher, while that for Chlamydia was more than three times larger.

James Ward, an Aborigine in charge of the Kirby's Institute's indigenous health programme, said there were a number of reasons for the findings.

Mr Ward pointed to the average age of the Aborigine population being much younger than the national average, while his people also lacked knowledge regarding STDs and their prevention.