Introduction There is an international trend in the re-development of specialist sexual health services as referral only services or with a reduced self-referral component. This study evaluates the value of retaining a self-referral component to service provision.
Methods An audit of attendance reasons to a provincial sexual health service for 354 episodes of care from 2012–2013 were analysed.
Data collected for national STI surveillance were analysed to compare the age and gender of patients treated for bacterial STIs in 2013 through the sexual health service with those treated by other providers.
Further analysis will be undertaken to assess the characteristics of patients attending a specialist service for STI management and trends with time.
Results Confidentiality is the most common reason for attending a specialist sexual health service (35%) followed by cost (29%).
35% of gonorrhoea cases and 20% of chlamydia cases in the region are managed through the sexual health service. However 35% of men with chlamydia are managed through the service and 56% of those over 30.
Conclusion Despite youth health services and general practices seeing an increasing number of young people for chlamydia management, specialist services continue to see a concentrated group of patients with bacterial STIs to provide opportunities for training and to gain knowledge of local sexual networks.
Disclosure of interest statement The work of Alex Carswell was sponsored by the Palmerston North Undergraduate Medical education Trust. No pharmaceutical grants were received in the development of this study.