Innovative STI program is helping to combat surge in syphilis infections

A doctor's gloved hand holding test tubes containing blood samples for sexually transmitted infections tests.
  28 August 2020  NWMPHN   

Melbourne Sexual Health Centre (MSHC) and Alfred Health are partnering with three local general practices in a pilot program to deliver sexual health through a hub and spoke model. This follows recommendations from the Victorian Sexual Health and Service Needs Review. This very timely partnership also follows recent advice from Victoria’s Chief Health Officer about an upsurge of syphilis in Victoria.

Two practices from the North Western Melbourne Primary Health Network region were chosen to provide sexual health care to people in their area based on local rates of sexually transmitted infections (STIs) and their distance from MSHC. These practices are Kings Park Medical in Hillside and Tarneit Family Medical and Dental Centre.

In the pilot model, MSHC delivers education to doctors, nurses and administrative team members on all aspects of STIs and vulnerable populations. MSHC will continue to support the practice staff by direct phone access to their doctors and nurses, plus a pharmacist and a counsellor.

The practices will provide a full range of STI testing and treatment including:

  • Onsite injectable treatment for gonorrhoea and syphilis
  • NPEP and PrEP stocked at their partner pharmacies
  • Each practice has had Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultural awareness training and they have applied for needle and syringe program status

Access to injectable antibiotic treatments – particularly for syphilis – has improved of late, with the support of the pharmacies connected with the GP practices involved in the pilot: Adam’s Chemist Tarneit and Rainbow Pharmacy Hillside. The practices also have the support of Thorne Harbour HealthResourcing Health & Education and Family Planning Victoria.

More information

With Melbourne Sexual Health Centre.