Purpose of Handbook 

The purpose of this Handbook is to facilitate high quality clinical practice in the delivery of reproductive and sexual health services in primary care settings. The Handbook provides easy to navigate evidence-based information for clinicians with links to expert guidelines, websites and resources where available. The topic areas in each chapter are not intended to be exhaustive, but rather to provide an overview for clinicians on key clinical areas which reflect Family Planning NSW’s current understanding of high quality clinical practice in reproductive and sexual health care within the primary care setting. All clinicians have a responsibility to continually reflect on their clinical practice and to stay up to date as new understandings and evidence become available. This Handbook serves as an accessible resource for use in day to day clinical practice for doctors, nurses and other clinicians working in reproductive and sexual health care.  


Family Planning NSW has published reproductive and sexual health clinical guidelines since 1991, originally as a resource for clinicians attending Family Planning NSW education courses. Over the years this has developed into an important reference source for primary care practitioners. In 2003 the guidelines (FPA Health Clinical Practice Guidelines) underwent substantial critical analysis and revision. This formed the basis of the first edition of Reproductive and Sexual Health: An Australian Clinical Practice Handbook, which was published in 2006 by Family Planning NSW.

The second edition of the Reproductive and Sexual Health Handbook was published in 2011 and included information on consultation skills, information for managing benign conditions of the cervix, ovary, uterus and breast, as well as an expanded urogynaecological chapter. 

The third edition of the Reproductive and Sexual Health Handbook was published in 2016 with significant evidence-based updates which drew on national and international guidelines. It expanded upon information regarding consultation skills with specific reference to vulnerable population groups, legal issues relating to reproductive and sexual health, male sexual dysfunction and other reproductive and sexual health issues affecting men, female sexual dysfunction, medical abortion, disclosure of sexual violence, specialised fertility interventions, and cervical screening.  

Reproductive and Sexual Health: An Australian Clinical Practice 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.

Future updates

  • Chapter 19 on Legal Considerations in Reproductive and Sexual Health is currently being reviewed and updated
  • 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.