Within Australia, men who have sex with men are disproportionally affected by sexually transmissible infections and human immunodeficiency virus. Evidence suggests that early diagnosis of these infections allows for prompt treatment options, slower disease progression and opportunities for early contact tracing to decrease onwards transmission. Updated 2014 guidelines have some key changes to support early diagnosis.
The goal of this project was to assess the level of staff compliance with evidence-based criteria, recommended in the Australian Sexually Transmitted Infection and HIV Testing Guidelines 2014, for asymptomatic men who have sex with men attending Canberra Sexual Health Centre, and implement strategies to improve compliance if necessary.
The Joanna Briggs Institute three-phase Practical Application of Clinical Evidence System audit and feedback tool for promoting evidence utilization and change in health care was used. In phase one a project team was established, and 18 evidence based audit criteria were developed. A baseline audit was then conducted. In phase two, barriers underpinning non-compliance were identified and strategies to improve these were identified and implemented. In phase three, a follow up audit was conducted.
At baseline, compliance with eight of the audit criteria was high, two were moderate and eight were low. Following implementation of selected strategies, compliance rates increased for all audit criteria except one, which was anticipated.
The project demonstrated positive outcomes from the baseline to follow-up audit, with overall improvements in compliance.