With the 2023 WorldPride festival fast approaching, clinicians should prepare for an increase in demand for sexual health services and understand the latest in mpox, HIV and STI prevention and testing.
The 2023 WorldPride festival is being held in Sydney from 17th February – 5th March 2023. 500,000 people are expected to attend, and 78,000 attendees are expected to be travelling domestically and internationally.
Clinicians and the community should be aware that the increase in travellers for WorldPride could lead to an increase in cases of mpox (previously known as monkeypox). Mpox is a rare viral zoonotic disease that was declared a Communicable Disease Incident of National Significance by the Australian Government Chief Medical Officer on 28 July 2022, following the WHO declaring the global situation regarding mpox to be a public health emergency of international concern. The outbreak of mpox in Australia has mainly been among gay, bisexual and other men who have sex with men.
In the lead up to and during WorldPride, it is important that clinicians know who is eligible for the mpox vaccine and where they can get it, as well as the symptoms to look out for and how to manage mpox.
Mpox guidance has been added to the Australian STI Management Guidelines and can be accessed here.
ASHM has also developed a quick-reference Decision Making Tool for mpox, which can be accessed and downloaded here.
As well as mpox, it is important that clinicians feel confident talking to patients about other aspects of sexual health, including testing for HIV and other STIs such as syphilis, and access to PrEP and PEP as HIV prevention.
You can find relevant resources and training opportunities on the ASHM website.