Ontario Public Health Standards

Sexual Health, Sexually Transmitted Infections, and Blood-borne Infections28 (including HIV)29

Goals

  • To prevent or reduce the burden of sexually transmitted infections and blood-borne infections.
  • To promote healthy sexuality.

Societal Outcomes

  • There is increased adoption of healthy behaviours among the population regarding sexual health.
  • There are enhanced supportive environments regarding healthy sexuality.
  • There is a decreased rate of adolescent pregnancy.
  • There are reduced transmission and incidence rates of sexually transmitted infections and blood-borne infections.
  • There is reduced morbidity and mortality associated with sexually transmitted infections and blood-borne infections.

Board of Health Outcomes

  • The board of health achieves timely and effective detection and identification of cases of sexually transmitted infections and blood-borne infections, and their associated risk factors and emerging trends.
  • The board of health is aware of and uses epidemiology to influence the development of healthy public policy and its programs and services to promote healthy sexuality and to prevent or reduce the burden of sexually transmitted infections and blood-borne infections.
  • The public is aware of risk, protective, and resiliency factors related to healthy sexuality and the prevention of sexually transmitted infections and blood-borne infections.
  • Community partners are aware of the importance of having supportive environments to promote healthy sexuality and prevent sexually transmitted infections and blood-borne infections.
  • Priority populations have the capacity to adopt behaviours related to healthy sexuality and the prevention of sexually transmitted infections and blood-borne infections.
  • The board of health manages reported cases and contacts of sexually transmitted infections and blood-borne infections.
  • Health care providers have the capacity to manage cases and contacts of sexually transmitted infections and blood-borne infections.
  • Priority populations have access to sexual health services, including contraception and comprehensive pregnancy counselling.
  • Priority populations have access to harm reduction services to reduce the transmission of sexually transmitted infections and blood-borne infections.

Assessment and Surveillance


Requirements


  1. The board of health shall report data elements on sexually transmitted infections and blood-borne infections in accordance with the Health Protection and Promotion Act and the Sexual Health and Sexually Transmitted Infections Prevention and Control Protocol, 2008 (or as current). [PDF]
  2. The board of health shall conduct surveillance of:
    • Sexually transmitted infections;
    • Blood-borne infections;
    • Reproductive outcomes;
    • Risk behaviours; and
    • Distribution of harm reduction materials/equipment.

    in accordance with the Population Health Assessment and Surveillance Protocol, 2008 (or as current) [PDF] and the Sexual Health and Sexually Transmitted Infections Prevention and Control Protocol, 2008 (or as current). [PDF]

  3. The board of health shall conduct epidemiological analysis of surveillance data, including monitoring of trends over time, emerging trends, and priority populations, in accordance with the Population Health Assessment and Surveillance Protocol, 2008 (or as current). [PDF]

Health Promotion and Policy Development

Requirements

  1. The board of health shall increase public awareness of the epidemiology, associated risk behaviours, risk factors, and risk reduction strategies related to healthy sexuality, sexually transmitted infections, and blood-borne infections by:
    1. Adapting and/or supplementing national and provincial health communications strategies; and/or
    2. Developing and implementing regional/local communications strategies.
  2. The board of health shall use a comprehensive health promotion approach to increase the community capacity regarding the promotion of healthy sexuality, including the prevention of adolescent pregnancies, sexually transmitted infections, and blood-borne infections, by:
    1. Collaborating with and engaging community partners and priority populations;
    2. Mobilizing and promoting access to community resources;
    3. Providing skill-building opportunities; and
    4. Sharing best practices and evidence.
  3. The board of health shall collaborate with community partners, including school boards, to create supportive environments to promote healthy sexuality and access to sexual health services.

Disease Prevention/Health Protection


Requirements

  1. The board of health shall provide clinical services for priority populations to address contraception, comprehensive pregnancy counselling, sexually transmitted infections, and blood-borne infections. For further information, refer to the Sexual Health Clinic Services Manual, 2002 (or as current).
  2. The board of health shall ensure that the medical officer of health or designate receives reports of sexually transmitted infections and blood-borne infections and responds in accordance with the Health Protection and Promotion Act and the Sexual Health and Sexually Transmitted Infections Prevention and Control Protocol, 2008 (or as current). [PDF]
  3. The board of health shall provide or ensure access to provincially funded drugs for the treatment of sexually transmitted infections, at no cost to clients, in accordance with the Sexual Health and Sexually Transmitted Infections Prevention and Control Protocol, 2008 (or as current). [PDF]
  4. The board of health shall communicate and coordinate care with health care providers to achieve a comprehensive and consistent approach to the management of sexually transmitted infections and blood-borne infections.
  5. The board of health shall engage community partners and priority populations in the planning, development, and implementation of harm reduction programming.
  6. The board of health shall ensure access to a variety of harm reduction program delivery models which shall include the provision of sterile needles and syringes and may include other evidence-informed harm reduction strategies30 in response to local surveillance.

Resources

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28 Blood-borne infections include hepatitis B, human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), and hepatitis C. Blood-borne infections are transmitted to the blood through sexual activities/intercourse and by the sharing of injection equipment and other drug-related activities.
29 HIV is specified only in the title but is implied throughout the Program Standard in all sections referring to sexually transmitted infections and blood-borne infections.
30 Harm reduction strategies include clean and sterile drug-using equipment (sterile water, alcohol swabs, steri-cups, tourniquets, ascorbic acid, and filters, which are currently funded through the Ontario Harm Reduction Distribution Program); condoms; client-centered counselling; skill-building and education; and referral to addictions treatment, health services and other social services.

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