Reproductive and Sexual Health: An Australian Clinical Practice Handbook

Published by: 
Family Planning NSW
8 Holker Street
Newington NSW 2127
ABN: 75 000 026 335 
Phone: (02) 8752 4303
Email: rsh-handbook@fpnsw.org.au 
Website: www.reproductiveandsexualhealth.org.au 

Suggested citation: 
Family Planning NSW. Reproductive and Sexual Health: An Australian Clinical Practice Handbook: Family Planning NSW; 2020. 

All rights reserved by Family Planning NSW.

About the Handbook

The current version of the Handbook is the first to be available via a subscription-based website. It has been substantially updated since the last iteration which was published in 2016. Every chapter of this Handbook has undergone expert review to reflect the latest evidence regarding common reproductive and sexual health presentations in primary care. Each chapter includes a range of websites linking to current resources as well as to relevant guidelines and organisations to further support a best-practice holistic approach to the delivery of reproductive and sexual health care.

New and updated information in this Handbook includes:

  • Chapter 2 on The Cervix has been updated to incorporate changes to the National Cervical Screening Program Clinical Guidelines regarding self-collection, intermediate risk pathway and HPV vaccination recommendations
  • Chapter 7 on Abnormal Uterine Bleeding and Other Disorders of the Menstrual Cycle has been reviewed and updated to provide more information about pre-menstrual syndrome
  • Chapter 11 on Menopause has been reviewed and updated
  • Chapter 12 on Sexually Transmissible Infections has been reviewed and updated.
  • Chapter 19 on Legal Considerations in Reproductive and Sexual Health (2023)

Future updates:

  • A new chapter on Long Acting Reversible Contraceptives (LARC) is currently being developed.
  • The handbook chapters are continually being reviewed and updated to support evidence-based practice.

About Family Planning NSW

Family Planning NSW provides high quality clinical information and services through our clinics and outreach services, health promotion activities, and best practice education and training in reproductive and sexual health for doctors, nurses, teachers and other health, education and welfare professionals. The Family Planning NSW Talkline 1300 658 886 is a confidential, non-judgemental referral and information service via telephone, email and LiveChat staffed by expert nurses who respond to questions from clinicians and community members. 

Our services are targeted to marginalised and disadvantaged members of the community, including people from culturally and linguistically diverse and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander backgrounds, refugees, people with disability, young people and people from rural and remote communities.

All of our work is evidence-based and shaped by research through our nationally recognised Research Centre, our published clinical practice handbooks on reproductive and sexual health, and validated through extensive clinical practice. 

Underlying values

Family Planning NSW aims to enhance the reproductive and sexual health and rights of communities by providing leadership, advocacy and a commitment to excellence in education and training, clinical services and research.  

The values that underlie these aims include a commitment to:

  • promoting the rights of all people to reproductive and sexual health
  • maintaining a strong ethical base, being accountable and transparent
  • valuing and respecting diversity without judgement
  • ensuring access to our services for all, including priority populations 
  • placing the needs of the whole person at the centre of our work 
  • ensuring high standards in all our work


Family Planning NSW would like to acknowledge the contributions of the following people, without whom the production of this Handbook would not be possible. 

Family Planning NSW contributors:

Dr Clea Anagnostopoulou, Medical Coordinator

Dr Jessica Botfield, Registered Nurse/Senior Research Officer

Dr Hilary Bower, Medical Coordinator

Ms Alex Robinson, Metro quality assurance nurse 

Dr Margaret Stellingwerff, Medical Coordinator

Dr Sally Sweeney, Medical Coordinator

Dr Lynne Wray, Senior Medical Officer

External contributors:

Associate Professor Katherine Brown, Medical Director of Ambulatory and Primary Health Care Illawarra Sexual Health Service, South Eastern Sydney Local Health District

Dr Ellie Freedman,  Medical Director of the Northern Sydney Sexual Assault Service, Royal Northshore Hospital, Northern Sydney Local Health District

Dr Michael Lowy, Sexual Health Physician, The Male Clinic, Sydney

Dr Janelle McDonald, Gynecologist, subspecialist in reproductive endocrinology and infertility, Adora Fertility, Sydney

Dr Margaret Sherburn, APA Continence and Women’s Health Specialist Physiotherapist, PhysioSpot, Victoria

Dr Michael Whishaw, Consultant Physician, The Royal Melbourne Hospital, Victoria

Dr Shannon Zawada, Gynaecologist and Infertility (IVF) Specialist, Genea Fertility, Sydney

Dr Rebecca South, The Leichhardt General Practice, Sydney

Family Planning NSW medical editors:

Adjunct Professor Deborah Bateson, Medical Director

Dr Clare Boerma, Associate Medical Director

Family Planning NSW proof readers:

Dr Jessica Botfield, Registered Nurse/Senior Research Officer

Ms Prudence Kidman, Research and Publication Officer

Reference editor:

Ms Prudence Kidman, Research and Publication Officer

Family Planning NSW reviewers:

Registered Nurses

Shannon Forsyth

Sarah Robertson

Michelle Alexander

Jenni Harrison

Lisa Bradfield

Alex Robinson

Nurse Practitioner

Kirsteen Fleming

Medical Officers

Dr Di Lawrence

Dr Hilary Bower

Social Worker

May-Lin Shutler

External reviewers:

Adjunct Professor Annabelle Farnsworth, Medical Director of Douglass Hanly Moir Pathology, and Director of Cytopathology and GynaePath

Professor Kirsten Black, Joint Head of and Associate Professor of Discipline of Obstetrics, Gynaecology and Neonatology, University of Sydney

Dr Vincent Cornelisse, Medical Unit Manager and Staff Specialist, Conjoint Senior Lecturer Kirby Institute UNSW

Mr Teddy Cook, Manager, Trans & Gender Diverse Health Equity at ACON

Clinical Professor Rod Baber, Obstetrics and Gynaecology, University of Sydney

Dr Eva Jackson, Clinical Director Nepean Blue Mountains Sexual Health & HIV Clinics

Dr Nicholas Comninos, General Practitioner, The Village Medical Practice, Summer Hill

Adjunct Professor Mary T Rickard, Discipline of Medical Imaging Science, University of Sydney, and Consultant Radiologist, BreastScreen NSW

Ms Julie Hamblin, Consultant, HWL Ebsworth Lawyers

Project management:

Adjunct Professor Ann Brassil, CEO

Ms Jane Estoesta, Director, The Research Centre

Ms Prudence Kidman, Research and Publication Officer