The Australian STI Management Guidelines are developed under the aegis of ASHA.
The latest annual critical review of the guidelines was completed in April 2016.
The Guidelines are an online resource for primary care health professionals and provide concise information to support the prevention, testing, diagnosis, management and treatment of STIs for adults and adolescents.
A Steering Committee, chaired by Associate Professor Richard Hillman, and an Editorial Subcommittee, chaired by Dr Chris Bourne, oversaw the Guidelines, while ASHM secretariat staff provided the support.
The Steering Committee included representatives from ASHM, ASHA, Royal Australian College of Physicians; Chapter of Sexual Health Medicine (AChSHM), Australian Primary Health Care Nurses Association (APNA), Family Planning Alliance Australia (FPAA), Australian Indigenous Doctors' Association (AIDA), Royal Australian College of General Practitioners (RACGP), Australian College of Nurse Practitioners (ACNP) and the Australasian Society for Infectious Diseases (ASID), as well as individuals experienced in the development of STI guidelines.
Development of the Guidelines
The content of the guidelines was developed through a consensus-based approach, drawing primarily from the existing STI guidelines reflecting best practice (the British Association for Sexual Health and HIV (BASHH)’s Sexually Transmitted Infections in Primary Care, the WA Guidelines for Managing STIs and the NZ Sexual Health Society Best Practice Sexual Health Guidelines).
Local Australian evidence was used to contextualise this content. The treatment recommendations have been aligned with the latest version of the Therapeutic Guidelines (eTG), where appropriate. Nationally recognised and endorsed guidelines and resources, such as ASHM Resources and the National Immunisation Handbook (10th Edition), were used in the development of the content and to ensure consistency across the range of guiding resources available. Where specific resources were utilised, they have been referenced in the relevant Guideline.
The content was written by a variety of clinical experts (GPs with expertise in sexual health, infectious diseases specialists or sexual health physicians), nominated by the Editorial Subcommittee and Steering Committee. Following the initial draft, a clinical reviewer then assessed the content to ensure clinical accuracy. The majority of the guidelines were then reviewed a second time by another clinical expert before being presented to the Editorial Subcommittee. The Editorial Subcommittee then approved the content or requested clarification where needed. Once all the guidelines had completed this process, a GP with expertise in sexual health reviewed all of the guidelines comprehensively, to ensure the content was clear, consistent and concise and delivered in an appropriate way for primary care. The Editorial Subcommittee then provided a final review of the content, before final approval by the Steering Committee.