Optimising the delivery of sexual health services in Australia: a qualitative study

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BACKGROUND: With a rise in sexually transmitted infections in Australia, it is important to evaluate and optimise current sexual health services to reduce barriers to access and increase testing. We aimed to describe the range of sexual health services in Australia, focusing on strategies to improve testing among priority populations, and any future strategies participants believed would improve service delivery. METHODS: We conducted 20 semi-structured interviews with key informants working in Australian sexual health services from July to December 2020, and collected data on service characteristics and strategies to improve access. We used content analysis, then coded and categorised the data into recurring themes and sub-themes. RESULTS: We identified two major themes: 'Expanding Traditional Service Delivery' and 'Thinking Outside the Box'. The first theme outlines strategies that build upon pre-existing service delivery models, such as express clinics and an increased focus on confidentiality. The second theme outlines new strategies introduced to fill gaps in service delivery, such as self-testing and outreach. CONCLUSIONS: To improve access to HIV/STI testing, there is a need for multiple access points to cater for a range of populations and their preferences. Establishing strategies to accomplish this involves utilising a combination of expanding traditional service models and implementing new approaches to service delivery.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)376-385
Number of pages10
JournalSexual Health
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 1 Aug 2022

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