AChSHM Committee Communiqué 2018

Read the highlights of key issues discussed at all four AChSHM Committee meetings in 2018, held on 22 February, 20 June, 14 September and 30 November 2018


AChSHM Committee Membership Changes

The following Committee members were appointed/re-appointed in the May 2018 elections for two-year terms:

  • Prof Christopher (Kit) Fairley was appointed as the President-elect
  • Dr Nathan Ryder was appointed as the Lead in Policy and Advocacy
  • A/Prof Lewis Marshall was appointed as a general member
  • Dr Manoji Gunathilake was appointed as a general member
  • Dr Nick Medland was appointed as a general member
  • Dr Julian Langton-Lockton was re-appointed as a general member
  • Prof Basil Donovan was re-appointed as a general member
  • Dr Massimo Giola was appointed as the NZ Representative
  • Dr Ei Aung was re-appointed as the Trainee Representative

The following members remain on the Committee:

  • A/Prof Catherine O’Connor as President
  • Prof David Templeton as the Training Committee Representative

Policy and Advocacy

The Chapter was active in the policy and advocacy space in 2018:

  • The Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Sexual Health in Communities Expert Reference Group (previously the Working Party) developed a Consensus statement on the clinical implications of a positive syphilis serology test in the context of a previous negative syphilis point of care test (Consensus statement). The consensus statement was developed to assist the implementation of the Action Plan Enhanced response to addressing sexually transmissible infections (and blood borne viruses) in Indigenous populations which is led by the Australian Health Protection Principal Committee. The consensus statement will be used to guide the interpretation of syphilis point of care testing results, specifically in areas of northern Australia affected by the syphilis epidemic.
  • In October 2018 Chapter President, A/Prof Catherine O’Connor, and AChSHM Committee member, Dr Manoji Gunathilake, met with Northern Territory Health Minister, Natasha Fyles, to discuss the ongoing epidemic of infectious syphilis affecting Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Territorians. The Chapter advocated for improved sexual health medicine services in the region.
  • A/Prof Catherine O’Connor presented on the syphilis epidemic at the Rural Medicine Australia (RMA) Conference and the RACP Northern Territory Annual Scientific Meeting in Darwin in October 2018. The RMA conference is the national event for rural and remote doctors and is co-hosted by the Australian College of Rural and Remote Medicine and the Rural Doctors Association of Australia.
  • In November 2018 A/Prof O’Connor attended the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander HIV Awareness Week activities in Canberra with A/Prof James Ward (Head of the Aboriginal Health Infectious Diseases Research group at the South Australian Health and Medical Research Institute) and met with several MPs.
  • In December 2018 A/Prof O’Connor presented an update on the syphilis epidemic in northern and central Australia in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander People at the RACP South Australian Annual Scientific Meeting (ASM), SA Horizons – Scanning the next 10 years.
  • A/Prof O’Connor, Dr Alison Ward (Director of the Adelaide Sexual Health Centre) and A/Prof James Ward met with the SA Minister for Health and Wellbeing, Hon Stephen Wade MLC, regarding the ongoing syphilis epidemic.

Evolve list of low value clinical practices

In 2018, the Chapter finalised its Evolve list which has now been published on the RACP website. Thank you to all those who sent in valuable feedback to assist in the development of the list.


2018 Annual Scientific Meeting and Trainees’ Day

The Committee held a successful ASM 'Chancres, coffee and clinical updates' in Melbourne on Saturday 17 March with 104 attendees. The ASM was followed by the AChSHM Trainees’ Day on Sunday 18 March, with 13 trainees attending.

Narrative Statement

The Chapter Committee has finalised its Narrative Statement, a piece of work developed in collaboration with the College Marketing and Communications team which aims to describe the Chapter, what members of the Chapter do and the value proposition of the Chapter in terms of the promotion of optimal sexual health irrespective of individual patient circumstances through education, research, public policy and clinical management. It is expected that the AChSHM Narrative Statement will be released in 2019.

Awards and prizes

Outstanding Contribution Award

A/Prof Katherine Brown was awarded the 2018 AChSHM Award for Outstanding Contribution to the Discipline of Sexual Health Medicine at the ASM in March 2018. Katherine has been an active Fellow working tirelessly and enthusiastically for decades and has made a huge contribution to the discipline of Sexual Health Medicine.

Penelope Lowe Trainee Prize

Dr Ei Aung was awarded the 2018 Penelope Lowe Trainee Prize for her case presentation titled Neisseria meningitidis proctitis, which she delivered at the ASM in March 2018.

Jan Edwards Trainee Prize

Dr Ei Aung was awarded the 2018 Jan Edwards Trainee Prize for her abstract titled Travel as a Risk Factor for Chlamydia Among Thirty-Two Thousand Young Heterosexual International Travellers Visiting Melbourne, Australia, 2007-2017, which she presented at the International Union for Sexually Transmitted Infections Asia Pacific Sexual Health Congress in November 2018.

Educational Development (Study) Grant

Dr Kate Scoles was awarded the 2018 AChSHM Study Grant valued at $4,000 to support completion of her Masters of Sexual and Reproductive Health, specialising in HIV & STIs.


Associate Professor Catherine O’Connor, President
Australasian Chapter of Sexual Health Medicine
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