• Challenges, knowledge and inspirations

    A report back on the Australasian Sexual Health and HIV&AIDS Conference 2019. 

    I work across the in-patient, (midwifery) setting, in the outpatient arm of our health service providing breastfeeding support, sexual health, women's health, and refugee health services. We collaborate regularly with the Aboriginal Health Service. I bear witness to the traumatising effects of colonisation on First Nation Peoples within our region. I see this as the number one priority, and few months ago I was elected to the Swan Hill Rural City Council  

    My 'bio' almost speaks to the challenges of providing sexual health care in the regions. Taking on many roles, filling gaps, but also understanding the impacts of limited services, difficulty retaining medical staff, and the tyranny of distance. 

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  • PrEP Is Not A Condom Substitute

    A report back on Garry Kuchel’s presentation ‘Syphilis in Gay/MSM in WA - Epidemiology & Emerging Trends’ 

    Garry was a friendly, passionate and entertaining presenter who set out to stir the pot and drive home the worrying message that men who have sex with men (MSM) may not be taking STIs seriously anymore. He emphasised the alarming trend of an increase in condomless anal sex, as well as a blasé attitude amongst some members of the MSM community towards STIs, which are now being widely considered “easily treated” and therefore nothing to worry about.

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  • Doxycycline: What Is It Good For? Absolutely Not PrEP.

    A report back on Vincent Cornelisse’s presentation ‘Attitudes Towards and Use of Antibiotic Prophylaxis for Sexually Transmitted Infections in Australia; An Online Survey’ 

    The charismatic Vincent Cornelisse delivered the results of a large online survey regarding the use of doxycycline as pre and post exposure prophylaxis for STI’s by men who have sex with men (MSM). The use of doxycycline is not recommended or indicated for such a purpose in any Australian guideline, and the evidence for its use overseas is questionable at best. Despite this, a whopping 13% of MSM participating in the study responded that they had used doxycycline as STI prophylaxis, which equates to hundreds of men. Perhaps what is even more disturbing is that 50% of these men reported getting the doxycycline prescribed by their GP (and the rest possibly ordering it online). 

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  • Viable and Dead Chlamydia Trachomatis


    The final presentation of day 1 of the conference proved rewarding as Nicole Lima introduced us to the VITA RT-PCR, a molecular test which allows for the differentiation of viable and dead Chlamydia trachomatis and the potential impacts this test could have on clinical practice.

    Current testing for Chlamydia using nucleic acid amplification tests detect the DNA of Chlamydia but tells us little about its viability. DNA can persist for a long time after effective treatment of Chlamydia and in patients who have been exposed to but self-cleared Chlamydia.

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  • A GP's perspective

    A report back on Teddy Cook and Shoshana Rosenberg’s presentation, ‘The inaugural Australian Trans and Gender Diverse Sexual Health Survey: Barriers, Resilience, and the Impact of Trans-Led Research’ 

    I was delighted to see trans sexual health included in the opening plenary of the ASHM Sexual Health conference this year. Teddy Cook (Manager, Trans & Gender Diverse Health Equity, ACON) and Shoshana Rosenberg (University Associate, Curtin University) presented the findings from the largest ever Australian sexual health survey relating specifically to the trans and gender diverse (TGD) community. 

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  • Syphilis Epidemic

    A report back on Dr Clare Huppatz's presentation, 'WA Syphilis Epidemiology'.

    At the WA syphilis symposium we heard from Dr Clare Huppatz who outlined the syphilis epidemic as it has moved through Queensland, the Northern Territory, Western Australia and South Australia. We heard that women aged 20-34 were amongst those most affected in Western Australia. Similarly, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people were disproportionately affected with a rate ratio for Indigenous to non-Indigenous of 14:1. We were shown lots of graphs of infectious syphilis going “up and up” and were told that this is not just due to increased awareness and testing but increased test positivity as well.

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  • The Importance of Peers

    A report back on the HIV&AIDS Opening Plenary.

    This morning I was reminded of the importance of peers, not only in efforts to end HIV but more broadly, in providing quality sexual health care to all of our patients and in research.

    We were told that science alone cannot end HIV and that while people living with or at risk of acquiring HIV remain marginalised, criminalised or stigmatised we will never end the epidemic.

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