In a nationwide survey carried out in 1981 centres offering free treatment for sexually transmitted diseases (STD) were located and the facilities available to the public were assessed. At least one special centre was located in each of the eight states and territories of Australia, but not in all cases did the clinics meet the basic requirements recommended by the Australian National Health and Medical Research Council. The STD clinics were almost exclusively found in capital cities, leaving large populations with no locally available specialist advice. The major centres, with one or two notable exceptions, were open only during routine office hours. In several centres staffing levels were barely adequate to cope with patient loads let alone deal with other important work required of reference centres--the training of health care workers, education of high risk groups, and institution of STD control programmes. In several respects the sexually transmitted diseases services in Australia were found to be inadequate to meet the needs of the population.
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