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Sexual Health and Family Planning ACT - sexual health

Four things you didn’t know about periods

about periods

When you first learn about periods and get your first one, there's a lot to take in, and get used to; tracking your cycle, managing the flow, and regularly changing your pads or tampons.

Often shushed by society, period talk – even into adulthood – can seem like whispered 'women's-only' business, a taboo topic rather than a crucial and celebrated part of women's health.

So in case you missed a menstrual memo, or just want to learn more, here are four things you may not know about the menstrual cycle.

To start with, sex shouldn’t hurt, and if it does, a good tip is to say “stop”, no matter what! The aftermath of sex also shouldn’t hurt – whether it’s two minutes, two hours or two days later...

HPV vaccine reducing rates of genital warts

vaccine sexual health shfpactNew study shows HPV vaccine is working to reduce rates of genital warts.

The human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine was introduced in Australia in 2007 and New Zealand in 2008 to prevent cervical cancer. It was free for women up to age 26 in Australia and to all women under 20 in New Zealand. This is because 99.7% of cervical cancers are associated with the sexually transmissible infection.

There is mounting evidence the HPV vaccination program is preventing cervical disease. This includes both precancerous lesions and cervical cancer. Although it takes 10 to 20 years from HPV infection until cervical cancer develops, the data are already showing a 17% decline in precancerous lesions in women aged 25 to 29.

Is it normal to get sore or have pain after sex?

sex should never hurtSex should never hurt!

Hi! I only recently have gotten a boyfriend and have started having regular sex. After 2 or more days, it starts to get a bit sore down there. Is that normal? I just assumed it was pain from friction, but I don’t know if that’s right and I’ve never sought help because it’s a bit embarrassing!
Sandra, 17, in Sydney

To start with, sex shouldn’t hurt, and if it does, a good tip is to say “stop”, no matter what! The aftermath of sex also shouldn’t hurt – whether it’s two minutes, two hours or two days later....

New Male Contraceptive

new male contraceptive

A new type of male contraceptive not only prevents babies; It's reversible!

We've been waiting a long time for this. Until now, men have had only two serious options for preventing baby-making: condoms or 'the snip'. A promising new product could be set to change all that, with animal trials indicating that it's not only close to 100 percent effective, but that it can also be fully reversed, making it less drastic than the vasectomy while still offering similar benefits.

Trademarked under the name Vasalgel, the contraceptive is a polymer gel being developed by the non-profit Parsemus Foundation in California, which aims to "find low cost solutions that have been neglected by the pharmaceutical industry".

We reported on Vasagel back in February after it showed itself to be effective in preventing rhesus monkeys from getting pregnant for up to two years.

Get PrEP in Canberra

PrEP and how to get it?

Are you thinking about taking PrEP and would like to know more?

PrEP or Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis is a prescription medication which is a combination of two different HIV drugs that is taken once daily by HIV negative people to prevent them from becoming infected with HIV. It must be started 7 days before exposure and continued for 28 days after exposure. PrEP can sometimes also be taken on-demand at the time of sex -this is not suitable for everyone and you would need to discuss this with your doctor.

Syphilis is making a come-back — it's not looking pretty

Syphilis Eye DamageSyphilis, a sexually transmissible infectious disease that has plagued humankind for centuries.

It's currently making a come-back and causing some unusual health problems, including vision loss. Today, syphilis is diagnosed rapidly by a simple blood test, and easily treated with an inexpensive antibiotic...



Trichomoniasis is a genital infection which is caused by the organism trichomonas vaginalis. While it is common worldwide, it is relatively rare in urban areas in Australia. Trichomoniasis is a vaginal infection, more common in older populations and those living in remote areas. It is a very rare cause of symptoms in the penis.

Trichomoniasis infection during pregnancy can cause premature delivery and low birth weight in the baby.


Trichomoniasis is a sexually transmitted infection (STI), which is passed on during unprotected intercourse.



About 50% of the time trichomoniasis does not cause any vulval or vaginal symptoms. If symptoms do occur they include:

  • An unpleasant smelling yellow or green discharge which is usually frothy and profuse.
  • Vulval and vaginal itch and discomfort.


Trichomoniasis very rarely causes any symptoms of the penis/urethra. If symptoms do occur they are:

  • Discomfort with passing urine.
  • Abnormal discharge from the penis.


Trichomoniasis is not routinely tested for, particularly in areas where it is very uncommon. If someone has symptoms of trichomoniasis, or a partner has been diagnosed, then a swab will be taken to diagnose the infection before treatment.

If your partner has been diagnosed with trichomoniasis you will need testing and treatment even if you have no symptoms.


Trichomoniasis is treated with the following antibiotics:

Tinidazole (Fasigyn) 500mg x 4 tablets as a single dose
Metronidazole, (Flagyl) 400mg three times a day for one week or 2g as a single dose.

These antibiotics need to be taken with food and can cause nausea, tiredness and a metallic taste.

Alcohol must be avoided while on these medications because they can cause nausea, vomiting and headache if taken with alcohol.

If trichomoniasis is diagnosed during pregnancy treatment options may need to be discussed with a specialist.

It is important to avoid any unprotected sexual intercourse for seven days after treatment has finished to allow the treatment to work completely and to avoid reinfection or infecting others. You may also need re-testing four weeks later if your symptoms continue.


Yes, all recent sexual partners will need to be advised, tested, and treated even if they have no symptoms. Your doctor or nurse can assist you with this.


Using condoms every time you have vaginal or anal sex is the best way to prevent trichomoniasis and other STIs.


If you are diagnosed with a sexually transmitted infection (STI), it is important to be tested for other STIs such as chlamydia. Your partners should also be notified, checked and treated if required. Be sure to have another test after treatment to make sure it has been cleared up.


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Last updated December 2019. References: Melbourne Sexual Health Centre. Australia STI Management Guidelines