Dr Richard Kidd.
Dr Richard Kidd. Tara Miko

Miners stray, but their wives pay

PREGNANT women across Central Queensland are visiting clinics in Rockhampton and Mackay and discovering they've contracted a sexually transmitted infection.

AMA Queensland president Dr Richard Kidd made the comment as he spoke about a rise in the number of people contracting HIV in Queensland and Western Australia.

He suspected the rise in new infections was due, in part, to the mining boom, and also in part to reckless overseas holidays.

"That it's happening in the two states, Queensland and Western Australia, is what makes them different to the rest," Dr Kidd said.

"Certainly cashed up people, who may well be young miners, are going to Thailand and in many cases they come back and they didn't have safe sex. I know that happens, I've seen it myself."

He said there "are antenatal facilities around Mackay and Rockhampton that are seeing women in pregnancy who have these sexually transmitted infections.

"Mining people are coming in from other places and not practising safe sex.

"Then they're giving it to their wives."

He warned there was a real issue around FIFO men who were using services where they were acquiring these sexually transmitted infections.

"Australian sex workers have a low rate of HIV and STDs, undergo regular sex health checkups and insist on the use of condoms, so they're much safer," Dr Kidd said.

"(And) we've seen a bit more than a doubling in gonorrhoea, a 50% increase in chlamydia, and syphilis has also increased."

There were eight new HIV diagnoses in Central Queensland in 2010, up from five in 2009 and one the year before that.


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