Sexual Health

Registrations are now open for the HIV 101 Webinar.

Thursday 10th December 10.30am-Noon on Zoom

Amidst all that’s happened in 2020, it’s important for us to keep HIV on the agenda. HIV 101 is a webinar designed to inform or refresh your knowledge on HIV. This webinar will cover a brief history of HIV, discuss the importance of prevention, the types of prevention available in Australia, as well as testing and treatment options.

We invite you to join Josef Garrington, ACONs’ Southern Regional Health Promotion Officer and Naomi Viret the Health Education Officer from the Caddyshack Project, as they take you through HIV in an interactive and thought provoking way.

Click HERE to register or copy this URL below:

And the winner is…

The fifth annual Caddyshack Awards honoured  and acknowledged services and individuals who responded and continue to respond in providing accessible services to their clients during these challenging times with the ‘Cool Bananas Award’.

The 2020 winners are…

Gemma Hartmann: Gemma is an RN at Shoalhaven ED who sought out assistance from the Illawarra Shoalhaven sexual health service to provide education to the Shoalhaven ED team on HIV and Pre Exposure Prophylaxis (PEP). Gemma wanted the general community, but in particular the LGBTQ+ community to be more welcome. As a major advocate, Gemma has encouraged her fellow ED staff to get up to date with STIs and HIV. She has created a tub with resources, making it easy for ED staff to provide PEP to clients and which tests need to be done.  Gemma has even come into ED on her days off to be with staff form the sexual health clinic who provided in-services so she could show staff where to access HIV medication and information in their ward. Continuing on, Gemma’s next project is to create a small card to go on staff ID lanyards for PEP and STIs.

Dr Megan Thomas: Within a week of arriving at Woonona Medical Practise, Dr Megan Thomas delighted the practice manager and receptionists by knowing all the practice policy and procedures, thrilled the practice owners with her dedication and clinical acumen, and impressed the patients with her dedication and care. Within a month Dr Thomas had educated the practice owners and staff about some of the important issues within the LGBTIQ community and helped the practise become part of the ACON “Welcome Here Project.” Dr Thomas addressed the whole practice when Best Practice upgraded the demographics section of Best Practice software to ensure that our team was competent to document the correct gender pronouns. Dr Thomas is one of only two prescribers in the Illawarra of gender affirming hormone therapy for Trans and gender diverse patients. She has a lovely empathetic manner and also provides this group of patients with much needed emotional and social support. What is even more impressive is the training for this was undertaken while studying for her GP exams. Lastly Dr Thomas established the gender affirming therapy policy and procedure and webpage for the practice website and she has also written her own care plan templates on Feminising & Masculinising Hormone Therapy. Her enthusiasm and passion for this field of medicine has enabled her to quickly establish rapport with her patients and give them much needed confidence during the very challenging period of their therapy. More recently Dr Thomas has completed her 6 month extended skills placement in Sexual Health and has been able to educate our team on important relevant policies and procedures whilst working in this hospital position.

Rebecca Kate: Alesco Illawarra is a registered and accredited non-denominational, independent secondary school, operating under the auspices of WEA Illawarra. They have campuses in Wollongong, Bowral, Nowra and Vincentia, NSW. Rebecca from the Vincentia branch is excellent at her job which offers small, flexible, learner-centred education environments for young people in Years 9-12. Kate turns up every day with a smile and a lot of passion for what she does! No word of a lie Kate uses the phrase “Cool Banana’s” on a regular basis around the kids and staff. It has become a bit of a running joke and some well needed positivity that whenever something good happens a young person will let Bec know that it is “Cool Banana’s”!

Illawarra Shoalhaven Sexual Health Service: ISLHD Targeted Clinical Services, which includes Sexual Health, Women’s Health & Youth Health Services, were quick to adapt to the evolving worldwide pandemic in 2020 by responding to the “new normal” of restrictions that impact on our day to day delivery of services. Staff including a Staff Specialist, Clinical Nurse Consultant, Clinical Nurse Specialist and Social worker were asked to join the Public Health Unit to respond to the pandemic locally. The staff have extensive experience in the management of infectious diseases along with the skillset of contact tracing and worked tirelessly in supporting the district’s Public Health response to COVID-19 while also supporting the COVID testing clinics. The rest of the team collaboratively worked together to provide innovative solutions to service delivery to ensure the continuation of safe high quality care to patients across the district. The resilience displayed by staff throughout these challenging times has been inspiring and has influenced an effective change in practice including delivering educational and teaching modules online, digital and virtual communications and connectedness. A surprising outcome identified throughout the pandemic is how the team have strived tocare for each other to ensure that the many changes on their professional and personal life has not impacted on them in a negative way and ensuring the health and safety for all.

Congratulations again to all winners, and nominees. We are honoured to be able to showcase your work, and celebrate your achievements.

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