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RESEARCH ARTICLE

Sex on premises venue (SOPV) health promotion project in response to sustained increases in HIV notifications

Amy B. Mullens A B , Shaun Staunton C , Joseph Debattista A F , Elisabeth Hamernik D and Darren Gill E

A Sexual Health and HIV Service, 270 Roma Street, Brisbane, Qld 4000, Australia.

B Institute of Health and Biomedical Innovation, Queensland University of Technology, GPO 2434, Brisbane, Qld 4001, Australia.

C Queensland Association for Healthy Communities, PO Box 1372, Eagle Farm, Qld 4009, Australia.

D Department of Renal Medicine, Royal Brisbane & Women’s Hospital, Herston Road, Herston, Qld 4029, Australia.

E Hepatitis Council of Australia, PO Box 13172, George Street, Qld 4003, Australia.

F Corresponding author. Email: Joseph_Debattista@health.qld.gov.au

Sexual Health 6(1) 41-44 http://dx.doi.org/10.1071/SH07087
Submitted: 2 November 2007  Accepted: 6 November 2008   Published: 23 February 2009

Abstract

Background: Due to increases in HIV notifications in Queensland, a health promotion outreach project was developed with sex on premises venues (SOPV) in Brisbane. Methods: A health promotion officer (HPO) promoted safer sex behaviours among SOPV patrons over 14 months, including providing information, counselling and skills to enhance safer sexual behaviours and providing referrals. Surveys were introduced to facilitate discussions regarding HIV/sexually transmissible infections, testing and safer sex practices. Results: The project demonstrated feasibility within this highly sexualised environment, and was enhanced by careful monitoring and revising the procedure to improve patron/staff responses to the project. The introduction of a survey instrument was a significant contributor to the project’s effectiveness, providing opportunities for patrons to discuss a variety of key sexual health issues. Conclusions: This initiative reflected effective partnering between the Health Department, a community HIV/lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender organisation and private industry. Despite initial difficulties, the presence of a health worker within an SOPV was acceptable to patrons and allowed for brief interventions to be conducted. This project was deemed effective for a limited time period and within certain constraints.

Additional keywords: brief intervention, gay men, health promotion, sexual health.


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