#25 It’s time to talk about STIs
The last decade has seen record increases in STIs such as chlamydia, gonorrhoea and syphilis, here in Victoria and across Australia. That’s why this STI Testing Week, 9-15 September 2018, the Department of Health and Human Services is encouraging all Victorians to start talking about STIs, to get tested and seek treatment.
STI Testing Week – with the theme Talk, Test, Treat – is a timely reminder for anyone that is sexually active to take action to look after their own sexual health and help stop the spread of STIs.
Doctors, nurses and healthcare workers play a vital role in improving sexual health literacy and normalising STI testing in the community. This includes supporting patients to notify sexual partners of possible exposure to an STI, if needed, through the 'Let Them Know' and Drama Down Under websites.
You can encourage your patients to speak honestly about their sexual history and practices, and help them manage and reduce these risks. You can also determine which tests to conduct and how often.
There are a number of resources to help health professionals integrate STI prevention, testing and treatment into routine patient care and build workforce capacity to improve timely STI management.
The Victorian HIV and Hepatitis Integrated Training And Learning (VHHITAL) training program includes training on the diagnosis, treatment and management of STIs, particularly in at-risk populations. Delivered across Victoria, the VHHITAL STI training program was recently updated to include PrEP post its listing on the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme.
The Centre for Excellence in Rural Sexual Health has a range of free online learning modules for general practitioners and other health and allied rural professionals, focused on the practical aspects of sexual healthcare, including sexual health history taking and contact tracing.
Family Planning Victoria offers a range of reproductive and sexual health training courses, with variable delivery modes, including relationship and sexuality education, supporting the sexual health needs of young people and people with cognitive disability.
For more information about STI Testing Week visit www.betterheatlh.vic.gov.au/STI
Department of Health and Human Services