Subcutaneous Injection Technique

NH1002   Public health principles – briefing paper


I am a nurse working in a remote rural health centre in Australia and I am providing a briefing paper to my new Manager on the clinical disease of syphilis. Syphilis is a sexually transmitted disease caused by the spirochete bacterium. It is a highly contagious infection spread by sexual contact. The objective is to describe the epidemiology of infectious syphilis within the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities of Australia.

Historical development:

Historically, among Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander (Indigenous) people, the reported rates of infectious syphilis have been much higher compared to the non-Indigenous population of Australia. Indigenous Australians living in remote communities are the most affected. Clinical strategies based on population screening, combined with preventive strategies and measures have had some success in sustaining efforts to control syphilis in this population. However, there remains considerable disparity between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians (Ward, Guy, Akre, Middleton, Giele, Su, Davis, Wand, Knox, Fagan, Dovovan, Kaldor, Russell, 2011)

Margo Lang1.

NH1002   Public health principles – briefing paper

Key considerations:

  Syphilis is a legally notifiable infection in all states and territories. Since 2004, new diagnoses determined on the basis of laboratory and clinical
information to be in the early infectious stage (less than 2 years’ duration)
have been reported by all Australian states and territories to the National Notifiable Diseases Surveillance System, with patient demographic information (Ward et al, 2011).
  Syphilis is only transferred to sexual partners for a few weeks during the primary phase (when a chancre is present) and during the secondary phase (when mucocutaneous lesions may be present) (Bowden, 2011).   As the painless ulceration of syphilis is sometimes ignored by men or goes unnoticed...