Sexual, HIV and viral hepatitis health

Program Officers
Phoebe - 8752 4945 | p.chomley@cesphn.com.au

Hi, we're the Sexual Health team. Our role is to work with general practices and to support you in diagnosing and managing STIs, HIV and viral hepatitis in primary care. We also link primary care clinicians with resources and the appropriate tertiary contacts.

We'd love to come out and speak with you. Please contact Phoebe to arrange an appointment.

Sexual health

The World Health Organisation (WHO) defines sexual health as, "a state of physical, emotional, mental and social wellbeing related to sexuality; it is not merely the absence of disease, dysfunction or informity. Sexual health requires a positive and respectful approach to sexuality and sexual relationships, and the possibility of having pleasurable and safe sexual experiences, free of coercion, discrimination and violence. For sexual health to be attained and maintained, the sexual rights of all persons must be respected, protected and fulfilled".

Sexually transmissible infections (STIs)

STIs are a public health issue in Australia. It's estimated that 20.2% of males and 16.9% of females have reported an STI diagnosis at some stage in their life.

Our catchment has the highest rates of chlamydia notification in both men and women.

chlamydia graph

Viral hepatitis

It is estimated that 325 million people were living with chronic hepatitis infections (HBV or HCV) worldwide in 2015.

In 2015, our catchment area had the third highest prevalence of heptatis B in NSW, and the fourth highest prevalence nationally. Our catchment also has the highest number of people living with hepatitis C.

It is now possible to eliminate hepatitis C. There are new direct acting anti-viral hepatitis C treatments listed on the PBS. These treatments are, safe and highly effective with a cure rate of greater than 95%.

HIV

With improvements in treatment medication and prevention strategies such as Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP), new HIV diagnoses continue to reduce every year. NSW aims to eliminate HIV transmission by 2026.

Sexually transmissible infections (STIs) are frequently seen in general practice, especially chlamydia, which is typically asymptomatic. It's important to detect STIs early to prevent transmission to others and minimise potential complications, such as infertility.

With more than 80% of chlamydia infections occurring in people under 29 years of age, screening  for chlamydia infection in all sexually active people up to 29 years of age is recommended.

Tips on discussing sexual health during a consultation

Many patients and doctors can feel uncomfortable discussing sexual histories, even when indicated or the patient requests an STI testing. A non-judgemental attitude and environment will enable disclosures on sexual matters.

To encourage conversation, make broad statements like, "In this practice, we ask all patients if they'd like an STI check" and/or, "In line with the guidelines, I'm asking if you'd like an STI test today?"

It's important to ask open-ended questions and avoid assumptions about sexual orientation by using the term 'partner'. Gentle enquiry about recent sexual activity, gender, number of partners, contraception (including the use of condoms), travel history and immunisation status helps to inform decision-making.

Ask about the risk for blood-borne viruses (hepatitis b, C and HIV), such as injecting drug use, tattooing and piercing. Investigations should be explained and patients should be asked for concent before tests such as HIV or hepatitis C are ordered.

Templates to import into clinical software

Electronic versions of templates (Best Practice and Medical Director) for Management Plans, referrals and other documents can be found in our templates section.

Documents need to be downloaded and imported into the clinical software, please read the instructions.

Key contact and resources for general practice professionals
How can you offer PrEP to my patients?

General practitioners who see patients who are at high risk of HIV can become EPIC-NSW enrolment sites. The study requires patients to attend follow-up visits every three months for review and STI screening. Full and ongoing support will be provided to you by the study team.

To become an EPIC-NSW site plase contact:

 

Cherie Bennett (HIV CNC NSW STI Programs Unit)
Ph: 9382 7449 
Fax: 9382 7475

Local publicly funded sexual health clinics

 

RPA Sexual Health Clinic
16 Marsden Street, Camperdown NSW, 2050
Phone: 9515 1200

Sydney Sexual Health Centre 
Sydney Hospital, Nightingale Wing, Macquarie Street, Sydney 2000
Phone: 9382 7440

Short Street Centre Sexual Health Clinic
St George Hospital, Ground Floor - Prichard Wing, Short Street, Kogarah, NSW 2217
Phone: 9113 2742

Men's Sexual Health

Andrology Australia

Women's Sexual and Reproductive Health

Family Planning NSW  

 

Education and Training

Becoming more gay-friendly in your practice: This Online Learning Module (OLM) aims to inform health professionals about the specific health needs of gay men and other men who have sex with men. The case-based modules explore stigma and discrimination, sexual health screening and common STIs. It is an accredited course (2 Cat 2 QI&CP points) and takes just over an hour to complete.

Hepatitis C in Drug and Alcohol Settings: This online learning module consists of four individual modules covering:

  • HCV epidemiology, prevention and natural history
  • HCV testing and liver disease staging
  • treatment options for HCV
  • monitoring, adherence and post-treatment follow-up.

These modules are designed for medical practitioners working in drug and alcohol settings or with people who inject drugs.

E-learning module about hepatitis C - an introduction to hepatitis C for people who work in sectors that may need hepatitis C information

  • ThinkGP Education - this news and education site offers interactive case studies on men's health, women's health and sexual health. It also includes activities for practicing sexual history-taking and managing specific sexual health issues.
Key Organisations

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