In a study in an area health service in Northern New South Wales, Australia a sample of 254 syphilis notifications over an 11 year period from 1994 to 2004 was used to examine if there was a relationship between socioeconomic status and syphilis notifications. The study highlights that geographical location and socioeconomic disadvantage underpins the differences identified in the syphilis notification data. Some of these trends are indicative of the disadvantages experienced by rural communities. In developing policy and practice, this study serves to highlight that location should be an important consideration in the allocation of resources and in the subsequent delivery of health services to continue to address all aspects of health inequality. Further research into the importance of inequities and evidence of effective interventions would be an important contribution and beneficial for the public health agenda. There is also an urgent need to better understand how social location in rural communities influence experiences of STIs and access to health services for sexual health. In small communities, the regulation of ST1 related information is particularly significant because of the higher likelihood of both professional and private relationships being more interrelated and connected.
International Journal of STD & AIDS Vol. 19, Issue 3