AIDS Council fears for FIFO miners

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The WA AIDS Council has called for condom vending machines to be installed in every WA mining camp amid rising fear about the sexual practices of fly-in fly-out miners.

According to The Australian the WA Department of Health is close to releasing draft guidelines on how resources companies can reduce the likelihood of STIs in their workforce.

WA AIDS Council executive director Trish Langdon said the organisation was worried by rising reports about unprotected sex between men and women and men who don’t consider themselves gay.

"There is the sex between men and women and there is also what I call the Brokeback [Mountain] moment," she said.

"We know what goes on in the camps because people tell us … these are not men who would say they are gay."

The council said miners were also at risk from partying in countries with a higher prevalence of HIV on their time off.

Last year Australian Medical Association WA chief Dave Mountain said a ‘boom town mentality’ was causing mining workers to behave recklessly outside work.

Direct flights from Port Hedland in the Pilbara to Bali have also made it easier for workers to go directly to Asia.

A rise in sex workers targeting FIFO miners has also raised concerns about sexual health in the mining industry.

Earlier this year University of New England associate professor John Scott told Australian Mining there was no evidence to suggest a rise in rural sex work translated to a rise in sexually transmitted diseases in the mining community.

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