Sexual health and viral hepatitis policies and legislation focus on the transmission, prevention and management of blood-borne viruses and sexually transmissible infections.

Victorian HIV strategy 2017-2020

Through the Victorian HIV strategy 2017-2020 the Victorian Government will improve prevention, testing and treatment of HIV. in collaboration with affected communities we will also reduce HIV stigma and discrimination.

A key target of the strategy is to have 95 per cent of people with HIV diagnosed, accessing the best treatment, and achieving undetectable viral load by 2030. The strategy also seeks to eliminate HIV-related discrimination and stigma.  

The government consulted with a wide range of people living with and affected by HIV, as well as the community, health professionals and researchers. These consultations focused on prevention, treatment and care, and brought together participants from a diverse range of backgrounds and organisations.

The HIV strategy is available to download from this page. 

Victorian hepatitis B strategy 2016-2020 and Victorian hepatitis C strategy 2016-2020

All Victorians with viral hepatitis are entitled to live longer, healthier lives, free from stigma and discrimination. Victoria’s vision will see people with hepatitis, clinicians, researchers, community and peer workers come together to achieve ambitious targets, bringing an end to new transmissions and unnecessary deaths from hepatitis B and C.

These two landmark strategies are a roadmap for eliminating the burden of viral hepatitis in Victoria through prevention initiatives, more testing and treatment and reducing stigma and discrimination of the disease. Download the strategies and posters:

STI Action Plan 2018-2020

The Victorian Government is committed to improving every Victorian’s health status, healthcare outcome and experience. No matter where someone lives, their income, level of ability, gender or sexual orientation, all Victorians should have access to the health services they need, including sexual health services.

In accordance with sustained increases in Victorian notifications of sexually transmissible infections (STI), disease burden and their role in facilitating the transmission of HIV, the Sexually Transmissible Infections Action Plan 2018-2020 (the Action Plan) includes both medium and long term priorities to guide the Victorian STI response.

The STI Action Plan is available to download from this page.

National strategies 2018 - 2022

Victoria is a signatory to five national strategies for blood-borne viruses and sexually transmissible infections:

Legislation and regulations

Legislation and regulations relevant to blood-borne viruses and sexually transmissible infections in Victoria include the following.

Public Health and Wellbeing Act

The Public Health and Wellbeing Act 2008 is a key piece of legislation designed to protect the health of the population.

The Act includes regulations covering the following areas:

  • pre and post test counselling
  • contact tracing
  • putting others at risk of infection

The Act requires that a four year state public health and wellbeing plan be prepared every four years. The Victorian public health and wellbeing plan 2019-2023 sets out a long term agenda for improving health and wellbeing outcomes in Victoria.

Sex Work Act

The Sex Work Act 1994 legislates for commercial sex work to be carried out under licensing conditions applicable to brothels, escort agencies and private operations (that is operations consisting of one or two people).

Carriage of the Sex Work Act is the responsibility of Consumer Affairs Victoria, who can be contacted for further information or queries regarding sex work or the Act.

Sections of the Sex Work Act relevant to the Department of Health and Human Services include: 

  • Determining the frequency of blood borne viruses and sexually transmissible infections testing for Victorian sex workers.
  • Setting the public health standards and requirements for the operation of sex on premises venues.

Sex on Premises Venues exemption process

Sex on premises venues can apply for exemptions to the Sex Work Act 1994 by submitting a signed Application for Exemption Form declaring their site a sex on premises venue and that they would operate in accordance with the Statement of Principles and Procedures for the Promotion of Sexual Health at Sex on Premises Venues in Victoria.

Under the Public Health and Wellbeing Act 2008, the department retains the right to enter and inspect any premises, including sex on premises venues, where it perceives there is a risk to public health or to manage or control a risk to public health. Hence, if required the department has the capacity to inspect any venue to investigate public health concerns or issues that have been raised.

Drugs, Poisons and Controlled Substances Regulations

The Drugs, Poisons and Controlled Substances Regulations 2006 cover the prescription and supply of drugs and medicines by a practitioner for the treatment of sexually transmissible infections and blood-borne viruses.

Patient delivered partner therapy

A key initiative for sexual health relating to these regulations is patient delivered partner therapy. This is an additional public health strategy for managing rising rates of chlamydia in Victoria.

Patient delivered partner therapy describes the practice of prescribing treatment (a single dose of azithromycin) for the person diagnosed with chlamydia - as well as providing treatment, either medication or a prescription, for delivery to their sexual partner.

The Department of Health & Human Services provides the Victorian Patient Delivered Partner Therapy Clinical Guidelines to assist practitioners in complying with the regulations when prescribing or supplying azithromycin, in restricted situations, for treatment of sexual partners of individuals diagnosed with chlamydia.

Health Records Act

The Health Records Act 2001 regulates the collection, handling and privacy of individuals’ health information.

For further information on the above or related legislation and regulations refer to the Chief Health Officer.