Policies and programs
- subsidising the HIV pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) and antiretroviral medicines to treat HIV through the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme
- funding a human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccination program to prevent cervical cancer, which is free to those eligible under the National Immunisation Program
- funding the National Cervical Screening Program, which provides a free cervical screening test every 5 years to those eligible
- monitoring gonorrhoea, chlamydia, donovanosis, syphilis , HIV, hepatitis B and hepatitis C through the National Notifiable Diseases Surveillance System
- responding to an ongoing infectious syphilis outbreak affecting Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples living in northern, central, western and southern Australia
- funding a national hepatitis C point-of-care testing program
- funding hepatitis C education and awareness campaigns
- funding the Test Treat And Go (TTANGO) program in remote Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities
- running campaigns promoting safe sex, such as the Don’t fool around with syphilis campaign
- providing Medicare support for telehealth services for BBV, sexual or reproductive health services, which allows access to telehealth services without an existing clinical relationship with the provider.
Strategies and guidelines
We develop and implement key strategies and guidelines to improve and manage sexual health in Australia.
National BBV and STI strategies
We implement the 6 national BBV and STI strategies.
These strategies outline Australia’s priorities to improve health outcomes for people at risk of, and living with, hepatitis B, hepatitis C, STI and HIV. They aim to:
- improve testing, treatment and linkage to care
- encourage more people to take up harm reduction measures and preventive interventions
- reduce infections, illness and deaths from these conditions
- reduce the personal and social impacts these conditions cause
- support social, behavioural, epidemiological and clinical research in developing a strong evidence base to manage and prevent BBV and STI.
By setting national priorities, the strategies enable governments, researchers, health organisations and community organisations to work together to reduce the impacts of BBV and STI.
The Australian Government is working to update the new national BBV and STI strategies. These strategies will align with the World Health Organisation’s (WHO’s) global targets for the elimination of STI, HIV and viral hepatitis as public health threats by 2030.
Public consultation of the Fourth National Hepatitis B Strategy 2023-2030 and Sixth National Hepatitis C Strategy 2023–2030 is now available through the Consultation Hub until 28 June 2023.
Our National Guidelines for Managing HIV Transmission Risk Behaviours provide consistency in the way all Australian states and territories manage HIV transmission risk behaviours.
They describe a staged, public health approach to managing the small minority of people living with HIV whose behaviours might result in HIV transmission.
Women and men health strategies
Sexual and reproductive health is a priority area of both the:
The Therapeutic Goods Administration assesses all medical devices before they become available for sale in Australia to make sure they are safe. This includes condoms and STI detection tests.
Research and monitoring
We fund research into sexual health – including STI and sexual function – through the:
The First National Blood Borne Viruses and Sexually Transmissible Infections Research Strategy 2021–2025 will ensure future research and innovation align with the national priorities set out in the national strategies.
The National BBV and STI Surveillance and Monitoring Plan 2018–2022 outlines how we monitor progress towards achieving the targets of the national strategies. Each year, the Kirby Institute tracks and reports on their progress.
The Centre of Research Excellence in Sexual and Reproductive Health for Women in Primary Care brings together researchers, policy makers, women’s health organisations, healthcare professionals and consumers to improve women’s sexual and reproductive health.
The Australian Institute of Health and Welfare conducts research on the sexual health of men and women.
Who we work with
We work with various stakeholders involved in sexual and reproductive health, including:
- state and territory governments
- the Centre of Research Excellence in Sexual and Reproductive Health for Women in Primary Care (SPHERE)
- research organisations
- BBV and STI peak organisations
- the Blood Borne Viruses and Sexually Transmissible Infections Standing Committee, which advises and reports on strategic policy, programs, social issues and activities related to HIV, viral hepatitis and STI
- the Ministerial Advisory Committee on Blood Borne Viruses and Sexually Transmissible Infections, which advises on the national response and management of BBVs and STI.
- The STI Management Guidelines provide clinicians with advice on how to recognise, test for and treat various STI.
- National testing policies provide information to health professionals who are ordering tests and interpreting test results for HIV, hepatitis C and hepatitis B.
- World AIDS Day – held on 1 December each year – raises awareness about the issues surrounding HIV and AIDS. It is a day for people to show their support for people living with HIV and to commemorate people who have died.
- World Hepatitis Day – held on 28 July each year – raises awareness about hepatitis and promotes testing and prevention for all 5 types of the disease: A, B, C, D and E.
- The National Plan to Reduce Violence Against Women and and their Children 2010–2022 outlines Australia’s approach to reduce family, domestic and sexual violence.