Sexually transmitted infections are reported to be highly prevalent among the aboriginal community based in the remote areas of Australia. Survey and evaluative reports have predicted 1081 notifications of sexual transmissible infection in the aboriginal community (Hengel et al., 2015). The landmark initiative taken by the Australian government to close the gap between the indigenous and the non-indigenous Australians aims to effectively reduce the incidences of bacterial borne sexually transmissible infections (Hengel et al., 2015). It has been recommended that this can be achieved by spreading awareness and education so as to increase testing in the primary health care settings located in the community. However a number of obstacles were identified that led to the diminished practice of getting tested in the aboriginal community. The chosen research article aims to identify the social barriers that are associated with STI testing in the aboriginal community (Hengel et al., 2015).
The study design of the research comprised of a randomized control trial that included a qualitative method. 32 open-ended interviews were conducted that involved the participation of 22 primary health care organizations that stretched around four regions of central and northern Australia that mainly hosts the major proportional of the indigenous community (Hengel et al., 2015).
The results revealed that main obstacles were the traditional and customary barriers that prohibited the aboriginals from getting tested as the aboriginal customary belief does not permit the interaction between patients and professionals of opposite sexes. Other responses revealed the insufficient clinical knowledge about the screening tests within the professionals and the lack of cultural competence training so as to interact with the indigenous community members (Hengel et al., 2015). The results also identified high staff turnover and inconvenience of the professionals in managing a positive report on account of possessing a stigmatized approach towards the clients.
The results of the research identified two basic elements that acted as social barriers in popularizing the STI screening methods in the indigenous population. The first was identified as the traditional and customary belief of the aboriginal community and the second included the lack of cultural competence and the stigmatized approach of the health care professionals. The stigmatized approach of the healthcare professionals could be addressed by imparting a mandatory training in cultural competence to handle cases of sexual health problems. In the same way, the workforce turnover issue could also be addressed with the implementation of proper team work and conducting screening outside the clinical setting and maintenance of proper health checks so as to facilitate better service delivery.
The strength of the study could be summarized as the theme and the sample size considered in order to conduct the research. The prevalence of STI in the indigenous population of Australia is an extremely sensitive issue and despite designing interventions to combat the issue it is extremely important to identify the barriers that have resulted in the failure of the implementation strategies. Hence, this study can be regarded as an effective contribution to promote effective sexual health of the aboriginal community.
On critically evaluating the article it can be stated that the research included only the response of the health care professionals and did not involve the participation of the aboriginal subjects or their valuable response. Inclusion of their response could have helped in identifying the mental perspective associated with STI and accordingly design strategies to effectively educate and spread awareness.
Hengel, B., Guy, R., Garton, L., Ward, J., Rumbold, A., Taylor-Thomson, D., ... & Kaldor, J. (2015). Barriers and facilitators of sexually transmissible infection testing in remote Australian Aboriginal communities: results from the Sexually Transmitted Infections in Remote Communities, Improved and Enhanced Primary Health Care (STRIVE) Study. Sexual health, 12(1), 4-12.