The Australian Federation of AIDS Organisations will use a ViiV Healthcare Australia grant to fund their Discover HIV in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Communities program.

The program aims to increase HIV health literacy in Indigenous communities and ensure healthcare networks have the skills and knowledge to effectively address HIV in the community.

Discover HIV project officer Justin Salerno, whose mother’s family has roots in the Indigenous community in Western Australia’s Mid West said there were disproportionately high rates of HIV and STIs in the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community.

“There is a need for more education and health promotion reaching these communities because unfortunately the message is not getting through as it has with other communities,” he said.

“We have formed a partnership with Anwernekenhe, a national HIV alliance for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, doing the work we do, which involves building the capacity of health care workers.”

Mr Salerno said a new edition of the Us Mob booklet, with information on treatment and services not included in the first three editions, had been launched.

A new website and digital sexual health fact sheets on tailored for Indigenous have also gone live.

Mr Salerno said the Better To Know website offered a notification service to help find places for people to get treated and allow anonymous correspondence with former partners to notify about STI risks.

The project also aims to communicate with health care workers who work with Indigenous communities as well as the communities themselves.

“Indigenous workers working for Indigenous people is really important as well. Community doing work for community has good outcomes,” Mr Salerno said.

The grant will help AFAO facilitate a community discussion on sexual health between Indigenous people and their healthcare providers.