top of page

Sexual Health

What is an STI?

If you are sexually active, you can get a sexually transmissible infection (STI) – even if you practice safe sex most of the time. It is estimated that around one in every six people will get an STI in their lifetime.

There are many different STIs, such as:


Not all of them have obvious symptoms, so there is a chance that you or your partner could have an STI without knowing it. 


The good news is, most STIs are curable and all are treatable. If left untreated, STIs can have long-term effects on your body.

In most cases, a simple blood or urine sample is all that is needed. 

Who should get an STI test and how often?

If you are sexually active, you should get an STI test at least once every 12 months.

If you are planning or you are having a baby, it is also important that you and your partner have an STI test to prevent any infections being passed onto your baby.

Some people have different testing needs so it is important to talk to your doctor about how regularly you should be getting tested. For men who have sex with men, gay identifying or bisexual men, we recommend getting regular check-ups for STIs, including HIV and syphilis, at least once a year. Have more frequent (three-monthly) check-ups if you have an increased number of sexual partners (for example, more than 10 partners in three months), are HIV-positive, or participate in group sex. 

If you are sexually active, talk to our doctors about having a check-up, even if you do not have any signs or symptoms of an STI. 

What happens if I get a positive STI test result?

Your doctor will be able to talk you through what treatment you will need, which might include antibiotics (particularly for chlamydia, gonorrhoea, Mycoplasma genitalium and syphilis).

For viruses such as genital herpes, HIV, hepatitis B and human papillomavirus (HPV), treatments will control the virus, help prevent symptoms, and prevent them from being transmitted.

The best way to avoid needing treatment is to take proactive steps to avoid getting STI. Condoms are the easiest and most effective way, to protect yourself from STI.

Remember: Do not try to diagnose your symptoms yourself, and not all genital signs and symptoms are caused by an STI.

Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV)

HIV is a virus that weakens the immune system, interfering with the body's ability to fight off infections. HIV is not the same as acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS). AIDS is the most advanced stage of HIV infection, when the immune system is at its weakest and the affected individual has one or more specific illnesses.

In Australia, HIV is commonly transmitted through:

  • Unprotected anal or vaginal sex without a condom

  • Sharing drug injecting equipment 

  • Tattooing, piercing and other procedures with unsterile equipment

  • Transmission from mother to baby during pregnancy, childbirth or breast-feeding

HIV transmission can be prevented by using condoms, avoiding shared injecting equipment, getting regular sexual health checks and taking HIV medications, such as PrEP (see below). 

Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP)

PrEP is taken as a daily pill by people who are HIV negative and at risk of being infected. PrEP is a safe and well-tolerated drug and has been approved by Australia’s Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA). If taken as prescribed, PrEP reduces the risk of HIV transmission by almost 100%. 

Find out more about PrEP here.

Post-Exposure Prophylaxis (PEP)

PEP is a month-long course of drugs to help prevent HIV infection. It is taken after a possible exposure to HIV.

PEP is most effective when started within 24 hours, but it must be started within 72 hours after a possible exposure to HIV. The sooner PEP is taken, the better. 

Find out more about PEP here.

Book an appointment with Dr Mark Choong

Dr Mark Choong is a HIV GP specialist. He is a regular HIV PEP and PrEP prescriber. 

  • Prostate Cancer
    What is prostate cancer? Prostate cancer develops when abnormal cells in the prostate gland in an uncontrolled way, forming a malignant tumour. Prostate cancer is the second most common cancer diagnosed in men in Australia and the third most common cause of cancer death. One in 6 men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer by the age of 85. It is more common in older men, with over 63% of cases diagnosed in men over 65 years of age. Prostate cancer symptoms Early prostate cancer usually does not cause symptoms. Advanced prostate cancer symptoms can include: frequent urination pain while urinating blood in the urine or semen a weak stream pain in the back or pelvis weak legs or feet. More widespread disease often spreads to the bones and causes pain or unexplained weight loss and fatigue. Causes of prostate cancer Some factors that can increase your risk of prostate cancer include: age, increasing rapidly after 50 years of age family history of prostate, breast or ovarian cancer, especially BRCA1 and BRCA2 gene mutations a father or brother diagnosed with prostate cancer before the age of 60. Diagnosing Prostate Cancer PSA blood test: the prostate makes an antigen; if this is detected in large numbers it may indicate prostate cancer or other prostate problems Digital rectal examination (DRE): the doctor feels for enlargement and irregularities of the prostate Biopsy: Tissue samples are taken from the prostate and tested for the presence of cancer. Talk about your treatment options and concerns with your doctor before making a choice as treatment options may range depending on factors such as: Age Physical condition Stage of prostate cancer And personal preference
  • Erectile Dysfunction
    What is erectile dysfunction? Erectile dysfunction, or impotence, means not being able to obtain or keep an erection that is sufficient for sexual intercourse. Many men have erectile dysfunction at some time in their lives. It can come and go. It is estimated erection problems affect about 1 in every 5 men over the age of 40. About 1 in 10 men cannot have erections. The problem is more common in older men. Erectile dysfunction is also called impotence. What causes erectile dysfunction? Erectile dysfunction can have a range of causes, both physical and psychological. It is usually a combination of both. Sometimes there is no clear cause. Physical factors that can cause erectile dysfunction include: general ageing health problems that affect the nerves, like spinal cord injury, Parkinson’s disease and Alzheimer’s disease reduced blood flow to the penis, caused by atherosclerosis (clogging of the arteries) conditions like high blood pressure, diabetes, high cholesterol, cardiovascular disease, obesity or sleep disorders underactive thyroid gland (hypothyroidism), growth hormone conditions, having too much cortisone alcohol, some medicines, smoking or substance abuse Peyronie's disease (scar tissue inside the penis) prostate disease, and treatments for prostate cancer or an enlarged prostate some medications used to treat high blood pressure, high cholesterol, depression or prostate cancer hypogonadism — conditions where the testicles cannot make enough testosterone or sperm Psychological factors that can cause erectile dysfunction include: unresolved problems, conflicts or issues within a sexual and emotional relationship anxiety about sexual performance (this is most common at the start of a new relationship, especially if a man has had previous problems with sexual performance) stress problems with mental health such as depression When should you see your doctor? Many men experience erection problems from time to time. But if the problems continue, see your doctor. Diagnosing and treating causes like diabetes, high blood pressure or high cholesterol can prevent or delay erectile dysfunction, or stop problems from getting worse.
  • Men's Mental Health
    Due to a number of factors including social norms, upbringing and the role models we are presented with, some men’s mental health issues have gone unrecognised for a long time. Mental health issues common in men Loneliness: A feeling of sadness that causes people to feel empty, alone, and unwanted. People who are lonely often crave human contact, but their state of mind makes it more difficult to form connections with other people. Stress: A feeling of being under pressure and overwhelmed. Stress is experienced when there is an imbalance between what’s being asked of us and our ability to deliver or cope with the demands. This causes discomfort and distress and can lead to other men’s mental health problems including anxiety and depression. Although most commonly associated with working life, stress can be triggered by any number of situations including at home, social situations and on the sporting field. Depression: An intense feeling of sadness that lasts for a long time, sometimes weeks, months or years. These feelings can interfere with daily life, wellbeing and physical health. Anxiety: The most common men’s mental health issue in Australia, anxiety is a consistent state of extreme worry or fear about perceived threats, that is usually out of proportion to the reality of the situation. Anxiety is ongoing and can happen without any particular reason or cause. Speak to a health professional for help Most common men’s mental health issues can be successfully treated. The key is to reach out for help as early as possible to increase the chances of a faster recovery.
bottom of page