AChSHM Committee Communiqué February, June and September 2019

Read the highlights of key issues discussed at three AChSHM Committee meetings in 2019, held on 27 February, 14 June and 5 September 2019.

Policy and Advocacy

The Chapter was active in the policy and advocacy space in the first half of 2019, with activity including:

  • In February AChSHM President A/Prof Catherine O’Connor, AChSHM Committee Member A/Prof Lewis Marshall, and the Chair of the RACP WA Regional Committee Dr Helen Rhodes, met with the WA Deputy Premier and Minister for Health the Hon Roger Cook to discuss the ongoing syphilis epidemic in Central Australia in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Communities.
  • In June A/Prof O’Connor met with NSW Chief Health Officer Dr Kerry Chant and Ministry of Health staff to discuss the syphilis epidemic and NSW preparedness.
  • Supported RACP endorsement of the STIGMA guideline for STI testing in gay men.
  • Wrote to the RANZCOG, ACEM, ACRRM, RACS and RACGP to raise the issue of under diagnosis and therefore under treatment of pelvic inflammatory disease in young Australian women.
  • Supported RACP endorsement of an open letter authored by Thorne Harbour Health (formerly the Victorian AIDS Council), Switchboard and Rainbow Health Victoria (formerly Gay and Lesbian Health Victoria) calling for urgent improvements to mental health policy and service delivery frameworks that will transform quality of life for LGBTI Victorians. The letter was a submission to the Royal Commission into the Victoria’s Mental Health System.
  • Supported RACP endorsement of the Noongar Boodja statement on Indigenous sexual health, viral hepatitis and HIV.


Annual Scientific Meeting and Trainees’ Day

The Committee held a successful ASM in Brisbane on Saturday, 16 March 2019. The theme for the ASM was New Frontiers and covered a range of topics including the syphilis epidemic, transgender health, sexual health in youth, and how sexual health services vary across Australia and New Zealand.

The ASM was followed by the AChSHM Trainees’ Day on Sunday, 18 March 2019, which included educational and interactive sessions on topics that had been requested by trainees. The Trainees’ Day includes a session on the legal aspects affecting the practice of sexual health medicine, HIV in women and management in pregnancy, and a practice exit examination.

Preparations have begun for the 2020 ASM, which will be held at the RACP event space in Sydney on Saturday, 21 March. The theme for the 2020 ASM is “Sex, syndemics and special populations”, with a focus on:

  • syphilis outbreaks in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities and Maori communities
  • the intersection of chemsex and sexual health among men who have sex with men
  • sexual health of trans and gender-diverse people

Fellows’ Update 2020

The Chapter held a Fellows’ Update at the Joint Australasian Sexual Health and HIV&AIDS Conference in Perth on 16 September 2019. The meeting was a great opportunity for members to come together for an update from the Chapter Committee and the Training Committee in Sexual Health Medicine.

Awards and prizes

Outstanding Contribution Award

The 2019 AChSHM Award for Outstanding Contribution to Education and Training in Sexual Health Medicine was awarded to Prof David Templeton. Prof Templeton has shown dedication to education and training in sexual health medicine over the last two decades. Prof Templeton has been the Chair of the Training Committee in Sexual Health Medicine for the past 2 years and was an active member of the committee for several years prior to this. Prof Templeton continues to strive for high-quality education and training for trainees of the Chapter and the medical community more broadly and was a very worthy recipient of this award.

In 2019, there were 2 outstanding contribution awards, with the second going to A/Prof Marcus Chen for his Outstanding Contribution to Research in Sexual Health Medicine. A/Prof Chen has published 260 papers in peer reviewed journals in the field of STI with 140 of these published in the last 5 years. His research has been influential in a number of areas of STI policy and clinical practice, including syphilis screening in men who have sex with men, partner notification for STI/HIV, gonorrhoea testing, and antenatal screening for chlamydia. A/Prof Chen’s contribution to research in sexual health medicine is impressive and worthy of recognition with this award.

Penelope Lowe Trainee Prize

Dr Melissa Kelly was awarded the 2019 Penelope Lowe Trainee Prize for her case presentation titled a 'Case of acute cholecystitis and secondary syphilis without chemical hepatitis in an HIV positive man', which she delivered at the ASM in March 2019.

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