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Title: Sexual health service adaptations to the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic in Australia: a nationwide online survey.
Authors: Phillips, Tiffany R
Fairley, Christopher K
Donovan, Basil
Ong, Jason J
McNulty, Anna
Marshall, Lewis
Templeton, David J
Owen, Louise
Ward, Alison
Gunathilake, Manoji
Russell, Darren
Langton-Lockton, Julian
Bourne, Christopher
Martin, Sarah
Chow, Eric P F
Citation: © 2021 The Authors.
Aust N Z J Public Health. 2021 Sep 2. doi: 10.1111/1753-6405.13158.
Abstract: OBJECTIVE: Examine the changes in service delivery Australian public sexual health clinics made to remain open during lockdown. METHODS: A cross-sectional survey designed and delivered on Qualtrics was emailed to 21 directors of public sexual health clinics across Australia from July-August 2020 and asked about a variety of changes to service delivery. Descriptive statistics were calculated. RESULTS: Twenty clinics participated, all remained open and reported service changes, including suspension of walk-in services in eight clinics. Some clinics stopped offering asymptomatic screening for varying patient populations. Most clinics transitioned to a mix of telehealth and face-to-face consultations. Nineteen clinics reported delays in testing and 13 reported limitations in testing. Most clinics changed to phone consultations for HIV medication refills (n=15) and eleven clinics prescribed longer repeat prescriptions. Fourteen clinics had staff redeployed to assist the COVID-19 response. CONCLUSION: Public sexual health clinics pivoted service delivery to reduce risk of COVID-19 transmission in clinical settings, managed staffing reductions and delays in molecular testing, and maintained a focus on urgent and symptomatic STI presentations and those at higher risk of HIV/STI acquisition. Implications for public health: Further research is warranted to understand what impact reduced asymptomatic screening may have had on community STI transmission.
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Journal title: Australian and New Zealand journal of public health
Publication Date: 2021-09-02
Type: Journal Article
DOI: 10.1111/1753-6405.13158
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