Adelaide Sexual Health Centre provides free, confidential, specialist sexual health services. Find out more about what we offer, our walk in service and appointments.
Preventing Sexually Transmitted Infections
If you are sexually active, the best way to prevent sexually transmitted infections (STIs) starts with safe sex. Other ways of preventing STIs include:
Safe sex means not allowing your partner’s body fluids (blood, semen, vaginal fluids) into your body and vice versa.
It also means covering or avoiding contact with, parts of the body that might be infectious (for example herpes ulcers or warts).
When used correctly, condoms in combination with a water based lubricant will reduce the risk of many STIs during vaginal, anal or oral sex. Latex gloves also provide barrier protection for sexual activity involving fingers and dental dams can be used to protect against STIs during oral sex.
For more information on how to avoid an STI, see the following web pages:
Regular STI check-ups are critical in reducing STI transmission. If you are sexually active, it is recommended that you have an STI check-up even if you have no symptoms:
- at least once a year
- every time you change partners
- if you believe you have come in contact with a person who has an STI
- if you develop symptoms
For the national recommendations on testing guidelines:
- see the Australian STI Management Guidelines
- see the Australian Sexually Transmitted Infection and HIV Testing Guidelines for Asymptomatic (STIGMA) Men Who have Sex With Other Men
- speak to your nurse/doctor
Some vaccinations may be recommended to help protect you against STIs. Currently SA Health is offering free vaccines for those deemed at risk. Current vaccines available include:
- hepatitis A vaccine — for men who have sex with men and those at risk catching hepatitis A through sex.
- hepatitis B vaccine through the High Risk Hepatitis B Immunisation Program for all Adelaide Sexual Health Centre clients
- human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine — for men who have sex with men aged 20 to 26 years old.
Contact Adelaide Sexual Health Centre or speak to your nurse/doctor for more information.
Pre-exposure prophylaxis, also known as PrEP is a way for people to reduce their chances of contracting HIV. Daily oral medication that is currently taken by HIV positive people is now being offered to HIV negative people to reduce their chances of transmission.
Adelaide Sexual Health Centre has provided clinical leadership for PrEPX-SA, a trial to determine the impacts of large scale access to HIV PrEP medication. For more information on the study see the Alfred Health website.
Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) Post Exposure Prophylaxis (PEP)
PEP for HIV is a four week treatment that may prevent you from becoming infected if you have been exposed to HIV. It consists of a 28 day course of antiretroviral medications and must be started within 72 hours of the risk exposure. For more information on HIV PEP see the human immunodeficiency virus post exposure prophylaxis web page.
HIV Positive People
For HIV positive people, HIV treatment with antiretroviral therapy (ART) prevents illness and complications developing from HIV and also prevents HIV being passed to other people. HIV positive people who are taking ART regularly and have had undetectable viral blood test results for six month do not transmit HIV. For more information see Ending HIV 2020 website.