Our Research

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Contact Details

  Street address:
Level 11, KGV Building
Missenden Road
Postal address:
Post Office Box M30
Missenden Road NSW 2050

Phone: (02) 9515-6111
Fax: (02) 9515-9610

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Sexual Health

Our Research

Sydney Local Health District (SLHD) has the highest rates of gonorrhoea, infectious syphilis and newly diagnosed HIV in NSW, and the highest rate of chlamydia in metropolitan NSW. SLHD Sexual Health Service (comprising a clinical and a health promotion service) aims to reduce the high rates of these sexually transmitted infections (STIs) in our local community, and improve the health of individuals and communities living with, or at risk of, STIs, including HIV. A key component of our work is research and evaluation to inform health promotion activities and clinical service provision.

We are involved in a number of projects which monitor patterns of STIs, including HIV, throughout Australia. This research has led to a greater understanding of who is at highest risk of STIs and HIV and the reasons for this, allowing us to better target and plan education, prevention and clinical services for the residents of SLHD. We are also involved in several collaborative studies to improve the sexual health and wellbeing of gay men and people living with HIV. These include the Study for the Prevention of Anal Cancer, a study of anal precancerous lesions which we hope will inform an anal cancer screening program, in an effort to address increasing rates of anal cancer in Australia. We are involved in a study of cognitive impairment among individuals living with HIV in a effort to better identify and assist those who have mild levels of impairment related to HIV.

We are also involved in several large collaborative research studies with other centres throughout Australia and internationally.

  • The ACCESS study is investigating rates and risk factors for a broad range of STIs among Australians attending sexual health and other clinical services.
  • OPPOSITES ATTRACT is investigating the risk of HIV transmission from an HIV-positive gay man to his HIV-negative partner.
  • APPLES is comparing lifestyle and behavioural factors between older HIV-positive and HIV-negative men to investigate why HIV-positive gay men appear to be suffering common age-related illnesses, such as cardiovascular disease, at a younger age.
  • The TAIPAN study is investigating the impact that earlier treatment of HIV-positive individuals has on reducing the risk of HIV transmission in Australia.
  • The PRELUDE and EPIC studies are statewide demonstration projects investigating the use and impact of HIV medications by high-risk HIV-negative individuals in reducing their risk of acquiring HIV.

Key Achievements

A number of collaborative studies with the Kirby Institute at the UNSW Australia including:

  • Australian HIV Observational Database (AHOD): A/Prof Templeton, Steering Committee Chair and Principle Site Investigator.
  • Australian Chlamydia Collaborative Enhanced Sentinel Surveillance (ACCESS): A/Prof O'Connor, Principle Site Investigator.
  • Study for the Prevention of Anal Cancer (SPANC): A/Prof Templeton, Chief Investigator and Principle Site Investigator.
  • Treatment with Antiretrovirals and Impacts on Positive And Negative men (TAIPAN): A/Prof Templeton, Chief Investigator.
  • PRELUDE HIV Pre-exposure prophylaxis demonstration project: A/Prof Templeton, Chief Investigator and Principle Site Investigator.
  • Australian Positive and Peers Longitudinal Evaluation Study (APPLES): A/Prof Templeton, Principle Site Investigator.
  • Expanded PrEP Implementation in Communities in NSW (EPIC-NSW): A/Prof O'Connor, Principle Site Investigator.

Research Staff

  • Director of Sexual Health, SLHD: A/Prof Catherine O'Connor
  • Head of Research: A/Prof David Templeton
  • Clinical Nurse Consultant: Ms Donna Tilley
  • Senior Counsellor: Ms Loretta Healey
  • Study Coordinators:
    • Mr Marko Garcia (SPANC)
    • Mr Gary Prott (PRELUDE)
    • Mr Brett Sinclair (EPIC)

Higher Degree Students:


  • Ms Denise Cummins, PhD Candidate, University of Sydney (Co-supervisor A/Prof Catherine O'Connor).


  • Dr Sian Goddard, Masters by Research Candidate, Kirby Institute, UNSW Australia (Primary supervisor A/Prof David Templeton)

Publications and Presentations

Publication Details:
  1. Tong WWY, Shepherd K, Garland S, Meagher A, Templeton DJ, Roberts J, Fairley CK, Jin F, Poynten IM, Zaunders J, Hillman RJ, Grulich AE, Kelleher AD, Carr A; on behalf of the Study of the Prevention of Anal Cancer (SPANC) team. HPV16-Specific T-Cell Responses and Spontaneous Regression of Anal High-Grade Squamous Intraepithelial Lesions. Journal of Infectious Diseases 2015;211:405-15.
  2. Han N, Wright S, O'Connor C, Hoy J, Ponnampalavanar S, Grotowski M, Zhao H, Kamarulzaman A; Australian HIV Observational Database (AHOD); TREAT Asia HIV Observational Database (TAHOD). HIV and aging: insights from the Asia Pacific HIV Observational Database (APHOD). HIV Medicine 2015;16:152-60.
  3. Jin F, Prestage GP, Mao L, Poynten IM, Templeton DJ, Grulich AE, Zablotska I. 'Any condomless anal intercourse' is no longer an accurate measure of HIV sexual risk behaviour in homosexual men. Frontiers in Immunology 2015;6:86.
  4. Roberts JM, Jin F, Thurloe JK, Biro C, Poynten IM, Tabrizi S, Fairley CK, Templeton DJ, Carr A, Garland SM, Hillman R, Cornall A, Grulich AE, Farnsworth A. High Reproducibility of Histological Diagnosis of Human Papillomavirus-related Intraepithelial Lesions of the Anal Canal. Pathology 2015 ;47:308-13.
  5. Wright ST, Law MG, Cooper DA, Keen P, McDonald A, Middleton M, Woolley I, Kelly M, Petoumenos K; Australian HIV Observational Database. Temporal trends of time to antiretroviral treatment initiation, interruption and modification: examination of patients diagnosed with advanced HIV in Australia. Journal of the International AIDS Society 2015;18:19463.
  6. Ong J, Chen MY, Grulich AE, Walker S, Temple-Smith M, Bradshaw C, Garland SM, Hillman R, Templeton DJ, Hocking J, Eu B, Tee BK, Fairley CK. Exposing the gaps in awareness, knowledge and estimation of risk for anal cancer in HIV positive men who have sex with men: a cross-sectional survey. Journal of the International AIDS Society 2015;18:19895.
  7. Templeton DJ, Wright S, McManus H, Lawrence C, Russell DB, Law M, Petoumenos K; on behalf of the Australian HIV Observational Database . Antiretroviral treatment use, co-morbidities and clinical outcomes among Aboriginal participants in the Australian HIV Observational Database. BMC Infectious Diseases 2015;15:326.
  8. Cornall AM, Roberts JM, Molano M, Machalek DA, Phillips S, Hillman RJ, Grulich AE, Jin F, Poynten IM, Templeton DJ, Garland SM, Tabrizi SN, on behalf of the SPANC Study Team. Laser capture microdissection as a tool to evaluate human papillomavirus genotyping and methylation as biomarkers of persistence and progression of anal lesions . BMJ Open 2015;5:e008439.
  9. Healey LM, Michaels C, Bittoun R, Templeton DJ. Efficacy and acceptability of a combination intervention for tobacco smoking cessation in HIV positive individuals at a public sexual health clinic. Sexually Transmitted Infections 2015;91:105.
  10. Cummins D, Waters D, Aggar C, O'Connor CC. How do community health care professionals recognize signs and symptoms of HIV associated neurocognitive impairment (HAND) to identify at risk patients for referral and assessment? Reviews in Antiviral Therapy & Infectious Diseases. 2015. 9: 36.
  11. Tilley D, Griggs E, Woolley I , Burke M, Hoy J, Wright ST, O'Connor CC , on behalf of the Australian HIV Observational Database (AHOD) Comparison of Australian born and other OECD born HIV-infected patients in the Australian HIV Observational Database. 2015. AIDS Care. 27:11, 1410-1417.
  12. Cummins D, Murray K, Trotter G, Batterham M, Healey L, O'Connor CC. Can patients and their caregivers help identify HIV associated Mild Neurocognitive Disorder (MND)? AIDS Care. October 2015.



  1. Templeton DJ, Poynten IM, Jin F, Hillman RJ, Roberts J, Farnsworth A, Garland SM, Fairley CK, Tabrizi S, Grulich AE;on behalf of the SPANC Study Team. Correlates of higher burden of anal high-grade squamous intraepithelial lesions in a community-recruited cohort of Australian homosexual men. Eurogin, Seville, Spain, 2015

Research Grants

NSW Ministry of Health Non-government Organisations Grants Program Chief Investigators: Zablotska I, Grulich AE, Templeton DJ, McNulty A, Carr A   Implementation of HIV pre-exposure prophylaxis with antiretroviral medications among people at high risk for HIV infection: A demonstration project    $ 603,110 2015-2016
National Health and Medical Research Council Project Grant Chief Investigators: Guy R, Templeton DJ, Stoove M, Elliott J, Carr A, Liaw ST, Hoy J, Petoumenos K, Wilson D    $ 757,330 2015-2018



Head of Research: Associate Professor David Templeton

Contact details for department

Department/Unit: Sexual Health
16 Marsden Street
Camperdown NSW 2050
Telephone: (02) 9515 1200
Facsimile: (02) 9515 6133
Web: http://www.slhd.nsw.gov.au/research/
Email: david.templeton@sswahs.nsw.gov.au