Updated Guidelines: Australian STI & HIV Testing Guidelines 2019 for Asymptomatic MSM

Sexually Transmissible Infections in Gay Men Action Group (STIGMA), September 2019

Most sexually transmitted infections (STIs) are asymptomatic. Testing and treatment of asymptomatic men who have sex with men (MSM) is the most effective method to interrupt transmission and reduce the burden of illness. In particular, syphilis is increasingly common, is often asymptomatic, and can cause significant morbidity.

The main barriers to STI control are insufficient frequency of testing in MSM, and incomplete testing. For example, chlamydia and gonorrhoea tests should be performed at all three sites (swab of oropharynx and anorectum, and first
pass urine), and syphilis serology should be performed every time a HIV test or HIV treatment monitoring is performed.

HIV is now a medically preventable infection. All men who are eligible under the Australian HIV Pre-Exposure guidelines should be actively offered PrEP: www.ashm.org.au/HIV/PrEP All people with HIV should be advised to commence treatment and, where possible, have an undetectable viral load.
These guidelines are intended for all MSM, including trans men who have sex with other men .

This current version is endorsed by the Australasian Society for HIV, Viral Hepatitis, and Sexual Health Medicine, Australasian Sexual Health Alliance, Australasian Chapter of Sexual Health Medicine of the Royal Australasian College of Physicians and is approved as an accepted clinical resource by the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners.

STI and BBV control in remote communities: Clinical practice and resource manual

SAHMRI / Young Deadly Free, 2019

This manual was developed by SAHMRI as part of the Young Deadly Free project, to support clinicians in efforts to boost STI and BBV testing rates for young people living in and visiting remote communities.

The manual provides tips on offering STI and BBV testing as part of routine consults with young people; collates the various STI and BBV clinical guidelines relevant to regional and remote communities; catalogues induction and training resources; and features Young Deadly Free health promotion resources for use in community education. The manual is designed as an induction and training kit, and for daily use by doctors, nurses and Aboriginal Health Workers.

Increased screening for syphilis and HIV in SA – new advice for clinicians (video)

SHINE SA,  

SHINE SA have released a short video resource for health professionals providing advice on the current syphilis outbreak in South Australia.

Syphilis is a sexually transmitted infection (STI). It presents a serious public health issue as it causes harm to the developing foetus and increases the transmission and acquisition of HIV.

The 5 minute video SA Syphilis Outbreak – Advice for Clinicians urges health professionals to be aware that syphilis is increasing rapidly in SA and that there is a need to respond with increased screening.

Experts debate whether kissing is to blame for gonorrhoea spread

Sydney Morning Herald, July 18, 2019 — 2.00am

The long-held position of sexual health experts is that gonorrhoea is transmitted by the penis, but an Australian researcher is studying the possibility the infection can be spread by kissing.

At the STI and HIV World Conference in Vancouver on Thursday, Professor Kit Fairley from Monash University will be arguing his case in a debate with Professor Emeritus H. Hunter Handsfield from the University of Washington.

Liver cancer death rate rising: study

SBS News, 9/4/19

The rate of liver cancer deaths and diagnoses has increased substantially in the past three decades, yet researchers say little has been done to help Australians most at risk.

While it is considered a relatively rare type of cancer – nearly 2000 people were diagnosed in 2014 – the high mortality rate and increasing incidence of diagnosis has been concerning, researcher Barbara de Graaff says.

Rates were highest in the Northern Territory, mostly due to a higher prevalence of hepatitis B and C.

STI’S on the rise in SA – free campaign resources (SHINE SA media release)

SHINE SA, April 2, 2019

Sexually transmitted infection (STI) rates are on the rise in South Australia, with around 1 in 20 young people infected with chlamydia¹. Left untreated chlamydia can lead to infection of the reproductive systems and long term consequences. Having one STI also increases the risk of being infected with another. As such it’s important that young people in SA are encouraged to practise safer sex as well as getting a sexual health check.

In response to this rise in STIs, SHINE SA is excited to announce the launch of their Sexual Health Check campaign and related resources for use across South Australia. These resources can be used by organisations including universities, secondary schools, youth services, general practice and community health services.

The Sexual Health Check campaign aims to raise awareness of STIs as well as highlight how easy it is to get a sexual health check.
According to the most recent epidemiological report released by SA Health in 2017, STI and blood borne viruses (BBVs) have jumped 14% compared to the previous five years.

In 2017:

  • there were 8,181 new infections of STIs and BBVs, this is a 7% increase compared to 2016
  • 77% of infections were in people aged 15 to 29 years.

SHINE SA encourages young people to receive a sexual health check at a SHINE SA clinic, their local doctor or Aboriginal Health service. SHINE SA offers FREE sexual health checks as well as counselling to South Australians under the age of 30 with a Medicare Card.

Dr Amy Moten, SHINE SA’s Coordinator of Medical Education said:
“STIs are on the rise, so practicing safer sex and having regular testing is vital. Left untreated, serious infection may occur and lead to complications such as infertility, chronic pelvic pain and ectopic pregnancy. As most people don’t have any symptoms, lack of testing contributes to the continued spread of the disease”.

SHINE SA hopes other health and education organisations and media outlets can assist by promoting and sharing the Sexual Health Check campaign. By doing so we can help raise awareness of STIs in the community and encourage young people to access sexual heath checks.

  • The free campaign resources including a Sexual Health + STIs FAQ booklet, posters and social media tiles can be downloaded here
  • For further information contact Tracey Hutt, Director Workforce Education and Development, by email here 
  • Download this media release

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¹ http://www.sti.guidelines.org.au/populations-and-situations/young-people