Less than a third of Gold Coasters being tested for coronavirus are men, according to new data released today.
The Gold Coast Primary Health Network has revealed that of all the Gold Coast residents who have visited a respiratory clinic for COVID-19 testing, only 31.6 per cent of those aged 18-65 were men, compared to 68.4 per cent women.
Statewide, members of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community are also under-represented for testing, as are children.
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Gold Coast Primary Health Network Board Chair, Dr Roger Halliwell, said it was important that these groups including parents or carers, are tested for any cold or flu like illness which could include a cough, fever, sore throat, shortness of breath, runny nose and fatigue.
He said some of the statistics were not surprising.
“It’s men’s health week this week, which encourages men to look after their health, as traditionally they are less likely to visit a doctor than women, which may explain why they aren’t being tested for COVID as frequently as women,” Dr Halliwell said.
“We want men to visit their GP to ensure their health checks, cancer screenings and immunisations are up-to-date and if they have any chronic disease conditions, that they are well managed, particularly during winter and while we are in the midst of a pandemic,” Dr Halliwell said.
Dr Halliwell said that men could also discuss any mental health or drug and alcohol concerns with their GP.
A recent survey reported that over 40 per cent of the 1900 people surveyed said their drinking had increased during the pandemic.
Men are also more at risk of suicide, with statistics showing six out of eight people that die every day in Australia from suicide are men.
“We encourage our male Gold Coasters to talk to their GP if they are struggling, to help them access available support services,” Dr Halliwell said.
“In addition to GPs, the website headtohealth.gov.au also has useful online tools and information and the alcohol and drug information service is available 24/7 to provide support and advice. People can call 1800 177 833.”