Labor’s health spokesman has called into question the government’s progress in tackling HTLV-1 in Aboriginal communities in central Australia, which have the world’s highest rates of the fatal virus. In April last year, Guardian Australia revealed that in five communities around Alice Springs, more than 45% of adults tested have the virus, a rate thousands of times higher than for non-Indigenous Australians. There is no current cure and no effective treatment for the virus. Quick guide What is HTLV-1? What does HTLV-1 do? Human T-lymphotropic virus type 1 is spread through contaminated blood, unprotected sex and breastmilk. Like HIV, there is no cure. Like HIV, the virus causes potentially fatal complications but unlike HIV it takes much longer for symptoms to appear. Some people carry the virus for 30 years before chronic complications appear. Five to 10% develop a rapidly fatal form of leukaemia – nearly all of those […]