Sector Release

STI Testing Week, 10-16 September 2017; Victoria, Australia

Victorians are being encouraged to visit their GP to get tested, and if required, treated, in a bid to reduce surging rates of STIs including gonorrhoea, syphilis and chlamydia, and blood borne viruses among at-risk populations. To build awareness of the need for regular and frequent sexual health testing Spring into Action: Victoria’s STI Testing Week will run from 10 to 16 September.  “Victoria’s first-ever STI Testing Week is about increasing sexual health literacy among at-risk Victorians, specifically when, where and how to get tested and seek treatment, without stigma or discrimination.”

Minister for Health Jill Hennessy also announced a package which will include $247,000 to the North West Melbourne Primary Health Network to help GPs across Victoria detect and treat STIs, sooner. From October 2017, the Victorian HIV and Hepatitis Integrated Training and Learning (VHHITAL) program will be expanded to support more GPs to test more people, more often. The program educates and trains GPs for the diagnosis, treatment and management of HIV, hepatitis B and hepatitis C and STIs.

The package will also include $760,000 for a dedicated Human Papilloma Virus (HPV) catch-up vaccination program through sexual health clinics to help stop the spread of HPV-related cancers and disease among men who have sex with men (MSM).

The HPV vaccine, Gardasil, given free to adolescents under the National HPV Vaccination Program, has been extremely safe and effective in preventing cervical cancer, HPV-related cancers in men and genital warts in men and women. There is a need to increase coverage among MSM to reduce the burden of the HPV-related diseases. Most anal cancer cases are HPV-related, with rates in MSM between 20-100 per 100,000 men. MSM are also three to five times higher risk of developing genital warts, almost exclusively caused by HPV.

"Our catch-up vaccination program, as well as training more GPs will make a real difference in reducing the burden of HPV related diseases and cancers, and getting real results for Victorians.”

 

Find out more about VHHITAL

Victorian HIV and Hepatitis Integrated Training And Learning (VHHITAL) delivers the Victorian Department of Health and Human Services Blood Borne Viruses Training and Certification Program.

The program is delivered and managed through a consortium comprising of North West Melbourne PHN (NWMPHN), the Australasian HIV, Hepatitis and Sexual Health Medicine Society (ASHM), Alfred Health, and the Doherty Institute.

The program aims to:

  • Improve general practice workforce capacity to screen, treat and manage HIV, hepatitis B + hepatitis C.
  • Improve alignment of certified general practitioners, priority populations and geographical areas of high prevalence for HIV, hepatitis B and hepatitis C screening and treatment.
  • Improve access to community testing and prescribing for HIV, hepatitis B and hepatitis C.
  • Improve networking opportunities for prescribers of HIV and viral hepatitis.
  • From October 2017: Introduce key STI screening and management training for GPs

For further information about VHHITAL, please email Julie Brock or Sami Stewart or call (03) 9347 1188.