Review of Investment in Sexual Health and Blood Borne Virus Activity – Final Report
3.5 Tri-State Centre for Sexual Health
OATSIH allocated $1.55 million over three years (2008-2011) to establish the Tri-State Centre, following a successful HIV/STI project to provide support for sexual health promotion, illness prevention, testing and treatment in the desert lands crossing the borders of the Northern Territory, South Australia and Western Australia. The Tri-State Sexual Health Project was established in 1992 with the support of four governments: the Commonwealth, the Northern Territory, South Australia and Western Australia.
The tri-state region has high rates of STIs and BBVs and, since the early 1990s, a number of initiatives have been developed to reduce these infections. An intensive screening program established by Nganampa Health Council demonstrated a considerable reduction in prevalence of gonorrhoea and chlamydia over four years (Huang et al 2008a). While there was a later increase in gonorrhoea prevalence, it was argued that this did not reflect a failing of the program but rather genetic changes within the gonorrhoea organism itself (Huang et al, 2008b). The project developed its own ‘eight ways to beat HIV’, or the ‘eight ways’ model, and this was later used as the model for an expanded Tri-State Sexual Health Project which included 29 remote desert communities. The eight ways model was based on STI control through:
- clinical services
- program planning and management
- health hardware
- health promotion and education
- monitoring and evaluation (Huang et al 2008a).
The reasons for the change of model were the previous clinical focus on case testing and screening, and the need to ensure that all three jurisdictions (NT, SA and WA) were receiving benefit from the one entity. It was also suggested that governance and technical advice be provided by two separate groups (World Vision & Burnet Institute 2008). In essence, the new model created a structure which was less focussed on service delivery and more focussed on providing support and capacity building across the region. This model also recognised the active work of the local health councils in implementing their own active screening and treatment regimens.
The objectives of the Centre are three-fold:
- to support primary health care services to develop, resource, implement and evaluate best practice in STI prevention, detection and clinical management.
- to strengthen regional commitment and approaches to STI/HIV control
- to collaborate with health services and academic, government and community agencies to facilitate the development, implementation and evaluation of sexual health promotion strategies and sexual health research.
The Centre is funded until 2011 and will be evaluated. top of page