Socioeconomic and health disadvantage is widespread within and across indigenous communities in the world, leading to differentials in morbidity and mortality between indigenous and non-indigenous populations. Sexually transmitted infections (STIs), including HIV/AIDS, among indigenous populations are an emerging public health concern. The focus of this paper is on examining the STI epidemiology in indigenous communities in various parts of the world utilizing a range of data sources. Most of the STI research on global indigenous communities has concentrated on developed countries, neglecting more than half the world's indigenous people in the developing countries. This has resulted in major gaps in data at global level for STIs and HIV/AIDS among indigenous populations. Available data show that the prevalence of STIs is increasing among the indigenous communities and in several instances, the rates of these infections are higher than among non-indigenous populations. However, HIV still remains low when compared with the rates of other STIs. The paper argues that there is an urgent need to collect more comprehensive and reliable data at the global level across various indigenous communities. There is also an opportunity to reverse current trends in STIs through innovative, evidence-based and culturally appropriate targeted sexual health programmes.
- data reporting
- sexually transmitted infections