Background Sexual health promotion is central to the prevention of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) and sexually transmissible infections (STIs) and to achieving the targets of the NSW HIV Strategy 2012–2015 and the forthcoming NSW STI Plan.
In NSW sexual health promotion targeting young people is delivered by local health district HIV and Related Programs (HARP) Units, non-government organisations and state-wide services. In the past state level leadership and coordination of sexual health promotion has been limited, consequently many services have been working in isolation and delivering small scale programs with limited evaluation.
Methods During 2014 the NSW Ministry of Health (MOH) undertook a review with the aim of strengthening the State’s response to sexual health promotion. The review involved a staged approach including:
An evidence check of evidence-based practice in HIV, STI and viral hepatitis health promotion and Aboriginal community engagement;
A review of data;
Consultation with key stakeholders to map existing infrastructure and resources, current sexual health promotion work and to identify barriers and enablers for the services.
Results The evidence check found patchy evidence to guide health promotion efforts. The review of current sexual health promotion across NSW identified a gap in state-wide prevention activity targeting young people aged 16 to 29 was. Young people have high notification rates for chlamydia, high rates of partner change and barriers to accessing health services.
Conclusions In response to these findings MOH developed the NSW Sexual Health Promotion Framework for the delivery of an integrated population-based prevention program that aims to increase consistent condom use and health seeking behaviours (STI/HIV testing and treatment) among young people. The Framework also aims to reduce duplication, strengthen partnerships across the sector and enable robust evaluation and monitoring of program outcomes. Implementation of the Framework has commenced.
Disclosure of interest statement Nil.
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