2016 Australasian Sexual Health Conference and 2016 Australasian HIV&AIDS Conference

Media Release

Sex in A New Era: Experts call for ‘rethink’ as technology transforms the sexual health of the Nation

(Adelaide: Monday, 14 November 2016): Rapid developments in technology are transforming the face of Australia’s sexual health - both in terms of sexual activity and our means to respond - and Australia needs to ‘rethink’ its approach to keep up with changing times, say sexual experts gathered in Adelaide today.

They are meeting for the 2016 Australasian Sexual Health Conference, run back-to-back with the Australasian HIV & AIDS Conference, from November 14-18.

"These are exciting times for those of us working in this sector. We need to look at what the new research is telling us, identify the gaps, and embrace the opportunities offered through technology and innovation,” said Professor Meredith Temple-Smith, Conference Co-Convenor and Director of Research Training in the Department of General Practice, University of Melbourne.

Sex Online
Understanding the impact of pornography and online sexual imagery is a priority area.

Most young Australians are exposed to online pornography by the age of 16, however little is known about its real life impact on their sexual socialisation, in particular, its influence on body image, and the impact of uncontrollable pornography usage on sexual function, arousal and relationships. 

Across the nation, demand for labiaplasty continues to increase, influenced in part by online media presentations of labial appearance.

Dating sites such as Tinder have been linked to a higher number of sexual partners, highlighting the need to for sexual health promotion to increase condom use and STI testing among Tinder users.

And the increased use of technology to perpetrate sexual violence against women is leading to calls for the inclusion of technology in conditions of protection orders.

The online arena is also offering new avenues for the delivery of care. 

“Nurse Nettie” – a confidential online sexual health service for young people - provides online answers within 24 hours, allowing a larger number of young people to receive tailored information about their sexual health in a convenient, confidential and trusted way.

Medical Innovation
Technological advances in prevention, testing and treatment could also transform aspects of care.

Trials of a new, molecular Point-of-Care test for sexually transmissible infections (STIs) found it substantially increased the timeliness of treatment. This could change the face of sexual health programs in remote and rural areas where STI prevalence is high and access to conventional laboratory diagnosis is problematic.

In reproductive health, advances in IVF and the proliferation of egg-freezing services are going hand in hand with advanced parental age. But what does that mean for women, men and the next generation?

Service and Program Innovation
Home-based medical abortion is radically changing access to abortion in Australia, particularly for rural women. Just over a year ago, an Australia-wide telephone consultation home medical abortion service was introduced, except in the jurisdictions which require abortion to be performed in a hospital or approved medical facility. Women in rural and regional locations with no access to abortion can now use this service. 

New developments in cervical cancer screening have also led to a re-evaluation of how Australia will deliver its national screening program from May 2017.
Not just technology:  Other areas in need of a ‘rethink’
Health experts warn, however, that it is not only areas relating to technology and innovation that need a rethink. Traditional models of care where individual aspects of sexual health are addressed in isolation also require reform.

“Sexual health plays a huge role in the lives of everyday Australians. It goes way beyond the treatment and prevention of sexually transmissible infections to include sexual identity, gender identity, psychosocial aspects, positive sexual enjoyment, reproductive health, addressing gender based violence, health promotion/education and more. The multiple disciplines involved in these areas need to come together and work collaboratively to deliver integrated care addressing the full range of sexual health needs,” said Dr Carole Khaw, Conference Co-Convenor and Consultant Sexual Health Physician, Royal Adelaide Hospital.

PROGRAM HIGHLIGHTS – for live coverage follow @ASHMmedia #SH16

Clinical Sexual Health and Epidemiology
• Pharyngeal gonorrhoea – the Holy Grail?
• Challenges in Mycoplasma genitalium and rectal Chlamydia trachomatis treatment
• Patient delivered partner therapy for STIs: the current state of play in Australia
• Sexual transmission of Hepatitis C: who should we be testing and how often? 
• The use of information technology to improve sexual health care

• What can we learn from Pornography?
• Young kids and gender identity. What is WHO playing at?
• Trans Health Matters 

Reproductive Health
• Contraception and Abortion: Let’s make access easy
• Seizing the Moment: Post Abortion LARC
• Breaking down barriers: Medical abortion via telemedicine in Australia
• Culture vs choice: Key issues for Aboriginal women (a Walgett perspective)
• It needs a rethink: How do we increase LARC uptake in primary care
• Why aren’t Australian young women keen on IUDs?

Gender based violence
• Community led responses to Aboriginal Family Violence
• STI considerations following sexual assault: Prophylaxis early or late treatment
• Technology – Friend or Foe
• Gendered violence and HIV within the multicultural context
Health promotion and Education 
• Health and Education: Working together for sexual health 
• The Queer Indigenous body
• Responding to the sexual health needs of LGBTIQ young people in Australia
• Best practice delivery of relationships and sexual health education in schools
Indigenous and other Priority Populations 
• Variation in Sexual Health Care Delivery at Primary Health Care Level in Australia: Findings from the Audit and Best Practice for Chronic Disease Projects
• An interim Evaluation of Outbreak Response Effectiveness to Control the Syphilis Outbreak in the Northern Territory
• Methamphetamine, sexual health knowledge and attitudes among ATSI young people: Results from the GOANNA survey
• The importance of Community Development “A Bottoms Up Approach”

Sexual Health in General Practice
• Rising Australian epidemics: Gonorrhoea and Syphilis - What is the role of the GP?
• Emergency Contraception in the Australian Setting: Introducing a New Oral Alternative
• Sexual Health Services - Western Sydney Youth’s Preferred Site of Care for Sexual Health
• Mycoplasma Genitalium - Is this the “New Chlamydia?”
• A Crash Course in HIV Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis for GPs
• Practical Implications of the Renewed National Cervical Screening Program for GPs and Practice Teams

Anal Cancer in Gay and Bisexual Men
• Epidemiology of Anal HPV Infection and Anal Cancer
• What should we be doing for our patients now?
• An update from the Study for the Prevention of Anal Cancer (SPANC)
• Education the community about HPV and anal cancer 
• A community perspective on anal cancer and anal HPV
• Living through the diagnosis and treatment of anal cancer

The Australasian Sexual Health Conference is convened by the Australasian Sexual Health Alliance. The Conference encourages all disciplines involved in sexual health medicine and sexual health promotion to come together and share experiences, new research and discuss national and local responses to sexual health in Australasia. To find out more visit www.sexualhealthalliance.org.au.