Get to know your STIs: new primer videos for primary health care clinicians out now

Graphic representing STI epidemics in Victoria.
  15 March 2022  VHHITAL   

COVID-19 is still the top story across the world, but people are still getting on with life, and having lots of sex.

In March 2021 the Victorian Department of Health put out a health alert in response to a sustained upsurge in syphilis notifications in heterosexuals of reproductive age and recommended more frequent syphilis screening of pregnant women to eliminate congenital syphilis.

To help curb the outbreak of this and other sexually transmitted infections, the Victorian Government has thrown its support behind the Victorian HIV and Hepatitis Integrated Training and Learning (VHHITAL) program.

This has resulted in 3 introductory training videos with the aim to make sexual health part of routine everyday practice. VHHITAL’s new videos provide an overview of diagnosis, treatment and management of the most common STIs for primary care providers, before undertaking a 90-minute accredited VHHITAL training course on a syndromic approach to STIs.

Dr Jason Wu of Kings Park Medical Centre, who has completed advanced STI training said “it can be awkward to raise the topic of sexual health, but I prefer to get over that rather than face having the conversation about the tragic outcomes if congenital syphilis is missed.

“Sexual health is critical to the good health and wellbeing of patients, and so needs to be included in everyday primary health care practice. With a little training, GPs and nurses can manage it well.”

Dr Melanie Bissessor, from Melbourne Sexual Health Centre, who presents the videos, said “most STIs can be managed well in general practice… these videos introduce each STI with a case study to get practitioners thinking about how they manage sexual health in their day-to-day practice. COVID is not the only epidemic out there. VHHITAL runs a course on a syndromic approach to STIs which outlines more comprehensively how they actually present in the clinic, and how they are best dealt with as part of routine everyday primary care practice.

“These short videos provide a primer on each specific disease as perfect preparation for the STI Essentials and Advanced Syphilis courses.”

Watch the videos

The videos are available to watch at and on the Victorian and Tasmanian PHN Alliance website. You can also using the following links to view the videos: