Primary care is key to sexual health

In October, the PHN attended the Sexual Health Ministerial Advisory Committee’s primary care forum at Victoria Park.

The facilitating primary care in prevention, treatment, management of blood borne viruses and sexually transmitted infections forum gathered together a range of health professionals and consumers in response to rising notification rates of sexually transmissible infections, including syphilis, chlamydia and gonorrhoea, and bloodborne viruses, such as hepatitis C.

Chaired by Professor Cindy Shannon, the forum acknowledged the integral role primary care plays in the treatment, prevention and management of BBVs and STIs and provided an opportunity to explore how primary care could increase the rates of BBV and STI testing.

One strategy suggested that sexual healthcare should be further normalised and integrated into primary practice as a core component of health and wellbeing. The holistic 715 health screening model—offered by Aboriginal Health Services—was presented as an example of how this approach could work.

PHN’s Primary Care Liaison Officers (PCLO) attending the forum said the opportunity to explore primary care approaches to sexual health was vitally important, given the rising notifications rates.

“The forum really highlighted the integral role GPs and primary health care providers play in the prevention, treatment and management of STIs and BBVs,” PCLO Maree Lyons-Micic said.

PCLO Emylee Tickner said, “It gave us the opportunity to explore how primary care providers are collaborating across their regions to provide a co-ordinated approach to sexual health."

The Sexual Health Ministerial Advisory Committee was established to provide advice to the Minister for Health and Minister for Ambulance Services on sexual and reproductive health-related matters in the context of the Queensland Sexual Health Strategy.

GPs can find more information at https://www.health.qld.gov.au/clinical-practice/ guidelines-procedures/sex-health or access sexual health pathways localised for the North Brisbane and Moreton Bay region at https://brisbanenorth. communityhealthpathways.org.