Only AIDS council clinic south of Cairns opens in region
HERVEY Bay will be home to the only sexual health clinic between Brisbane and Cairns for the LGBTI+ community.
Hervey Bay woman and member of the LGBTI+ community Sally Cripps has been working to bring the clinic to the region since she recognised the poor sexual and mental health within the gay community of the area.
The QuAC clinic, operated by the Queensland AIDS council, will offer sexual health testing services to members of the LBGTI+ community and will operate out of the Hervey Bay Neighbourhood Centre in Pialba.
"We have a gap in service between general services, which all of us can access and the more who go to GP the better, but there is an issue where you're going to a GP to talk about issues specific for gay men, lesbian women or even transgender people, the knowledge isn't there, and that makes the community feel un-serviced," Ms Cripps said.
"So this QuAC clinic is a service provider to meet a niche in the market with regards to sexual health and mental health needs [of the LGBTI+ community].
"I'm really proud we've got it, it's huge."
QuAC Executive Director Michael Scott said because it was difficult for LGBTI+ people in the region to access specialised services, there is a concern of the unknown amount of sexually transmitted infections and HIV in the region.
"At this stage we don't really know how many cases of HIV or STIs we'll find in Hervey Bay, however we suspect once we start testing we'll find a number of people who are positive to STIs and likely we will be able to diagnose HIV as well," Mr Scott said.
Mr Scott said Hervey Bay would be one of the only places in Queensland for people to access the trial drug PrEP (Pre Exposure Prophylaxis), which is a drug taken by a HIV negative person to prevent them from contracting the virus.
The clinic will be open fortnightly on a Wednesday, and will be run by a registered nurse who will be flown up from Brisbane.
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