HERVEY Bay will become home to the Queensland AIDS Council’s new sexual health clinic for the Fraser Coast region.

The clinic will offer sexual health testing services to the LGBTI community and will operate from the Hervey Bay Neighbourhood Centre in Pialba.

Hervey Bay local Sally Cripps has been working to bring the clinic to the region since recognising that the local LGBTI community has issues with poor sexual and mental health.

“We have a gap in service,” said Cripps. “There is an issue where you’re going to a GP to talk about issues specific for gay men, lesbian women or [trans people], the knowledge isn’t there, and that makes the community feel unserviced.”

Queensland AIDS Council executive director Michael Scott said because of the difficulty in accessing local service for LGBTI people, the rate of HIV and STIs in the region is unknown.

“At this stage we don’t really know how many cases of HIV or STIs we’ll find in Hervey Bay,” he said. “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.”

Scott said the clinic will be one of the only places in Queensland for people to access PrEP.

The new clinic will operate fortnightly on Wednesdays, staffed by a registered nurse.

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