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Canadian Public Health Association

Can you demonstrate knowledge of the bio-medical risks associated with sexual practices?

  • A Core Competency in the Prevention of Sexually Transmitted and Blood-Borne Infections (STBBIs)

Qiu, a public health nurse, is invited to come and talk with a group of men enrolled in a community-based addictions treatment and support program. The group, which includes straight, gay and bi-sexual men, is quite animated and has many questions about who is most likely to get an STI and which sexual practices are especially high-risk, including, for example, fisting, docking, rimming, sharing sex toys and S/M sex. Qiu tries hard to answer their questions accurately and without embarrassment.

Do you work in the area of sexual health or STBBI prevention and support? Are you knowledgeable of the bio-medical risks associated with different sexual practices?

Use the questions below to help you self-assess your knowledge, skills, attitudes and practices related to the bio-medical risks of different sexual practices. Remember that depending on your role, you may require different levels of proficiency for the various core competencies and it is possible that some of the competencies are not relevant to your work.

  1. Are you aware of and comfortable using slang terms for various sexual practices when discussing risk reduction strategies with your clients?
  2. Are you comfortable discussing different sexual practices and are you knowledgeable of the different risks they pose for transmitting HIV and other STIs?
  3. In what ways can age, gender and immune status affect the biological risk of contracting STBBIs?
  4. Can you name some of the sexual practices that present negligible, low and high risk for transmitting HIV infection? What methods can be used to further reduce these risks?
  5. How familiar are you with pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) and post-exposure prophylaxis (PEP) for the prevention of HIV and other STBBIs?

Suggested resources:

This is one of a series of cases on the core competencies for STBBI prevention. View all 26 cases on the core competencies for STBBI prevention.

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