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Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (2019) The health of Australia’s males, AIHW, Australian Government, accessed 09 December 2022.
Australian Institute of Health and Welfare. (2019). The health of Australia’s males. Retrieved from https://www.aihw.gov.au/reports/men-women/male-health
The health of Australia’s males. Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, 10 December 2019, https://www.aihw.gov.au/reports/men-women/male-health
Australian Institute of Health and Welfare. The health of Australia’s males [Internet]. Canberra: Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, 2019 [cited 2022 Dec. 9]. Available from: https://www.aihw.gov.au/reports/men-women/male-health
Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW) 2019, The health of Australia’s males, viewed 9 December 2022, https://www.aihw.gov.au/reports/men-women/male-health
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Sexual health is a state of physical, mental and social well-being in relation to sexuality (WHO 2019a). Measures of sexual health include the prevalence of sexual difficulties and sexually transmissible infection rates.
Sexually transmitted infections (STIs) are a subset of communicable diseases known to be transmitted through sexual contact. More than 30 different viruses, bacteria and parasites are known to be transmitted sexually (WHO 2019b). While some STIs can be cured, a person can have an STI without symptoms of disease. If left untreated, these infections can have serious consequences for long-term health.
In Australia, data about new cases of STIs are collected through notifiable disease monitoring systems. Data about common infections are routinely published in annual surveillance reports, including chlamydia, gonorrhoea, syphilis, hepatitis B, hepatitis C and HIV (Kirby Institute 2018).
new cases of selected notifiable STIs were reported for Australian males in 2017
In 2017, males accounted for more than half (56%) of all new STI cases (Kirby Institute 2018).
Number of notifications
Per cent of total cases(a)
Rate per 100,000
Age group with highest rate
(a) Total excludes cases where sex was missing
Chart: AIHW. Source: Kirby Institute, 2018.
Notification rates for viral hepatitis and HIV have remained stable over time in males. However, there has been an increase in rates of chlamydia, gonorrhoea and syphilis notifications. Compared with 2008, rates of these infections in 2017 for males were:
Chart: AIHW. Source: Kirby Institute 2018. See Table S13.
For more information, see HIV, viral hepatitis and sexually transmissible infections in Australia: Annual surveillance report 2018 (Kirby Institute, 2018).
Australian men have experienced at least 1 sexual difficulty in the last 12 months
According to self-reported data, more than half (54%) of men aged 18–55 had experienced some sexual difficulty lasting at least 3 months in the last 12 months. Of these men (Schlichthorst et al. 2016):
‘Reaching climax too quickly’ was the most common issue across all age groups (between 32% and 39%).
Other types of sexual difficulty differed by age:
Type of sexual difficulty (SD)
Total yes (%)
At least one SD over the past 12 months
Reached climax too quickly
Lacked interest in having sex
Did not reach climax or took a long time
Had trouble getting or keeping an erection
Felt anxious during sex
Lacked enjoyment in sex
Felt no excitement or arousal during sex
Felt physical pain as a result of sex
(a) Sexual difficulty experienced for at least three months in the 12 months before the study.
Note: 95% CI = 95% confidence interval. We can be 95% confident that the true value is within this confidence interval.
Source: Schlichthorst et al. 2016.
For more information on male sexual health, see Healthy Male Australia.
ABS (Australian Bureau of Statistics) 2008. National Survey of Mental Health and Wellbeing: Summary of Results, 2007. ABS cat. no. 4326.0. Canberra: ABS.
ABS 2018a. National Health Survey: First results 2017–18. ABS cat. no. 4364.0.55.001. Canberra: ABS.
ABS 2018b. Life Tables for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians, 2015–2017. ABS cat. no. 3302.0.55.003. Canberra: ABS.
ABS 2019. Microdata: National Health Survey, 2017-18, detailed microdata, DataLab. ABS cat no. 4324.0.55.001. Canberra: ABS. Findings based on AIHW analysis of ABS microdata.
Australian Health Ministers’ Advisory Council 2017. National Strategic Framework for Chronic Conditions. Canberra: Australian Government.
AIHW 2018 Cancer Data in Australia. Canberra: AIHW. <https://www.aihw.gov./reports/cancer/cancer-data-in-Australia/>.
AIHW (Australian Institute of Health and Welfare) 2019a. Australian Burden of Disease Study: impact and causes of illness and death in Australia 2015. Australian Burden of Disease series no.19. Cat. no. BOD 22. Canberra: AIHW.
AIHW 2019b. Deaths in Australia. Cat. no. PHE 229. Canberra: AIHW.
AIHW 2019c. Mortality Over Regions and Time (MORT) books. Cat. no. PHE 229. Canberra: AIHW.
AIHW 2019d. Mental health services in Australia: in brief 2019. Cat.no. HSE 228. Canberra: AIHW.
Kirby Institute 2018. HIV, viral hepatitis and sexually transmissible infections in Australia: annual Surveillance report 2018. Sydney: Kirby Institute.
Lawrence D, Johnson S, Hafekost J, Boterhoven De Haan K, Sawyer M, Ainley J, Zubrick SR (2015) The Mental Health of Children and Adolescents. Report on the second Australian Child and Adolescent Survey of Mental Health and Wellbeing. Department of Health, Canberra
Morgan VA, Waterreus A, Jablensky A, Mackinnon A, McGrath JJ, Carr V et. al 2011. People living with psychotic illness 2010. Report on the second Australian national survey. Australian Government Department of Health and Ageing: Canberra.
OECD (Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development) 2019. Life expectancy at birth (indicator). doi: 10.1787/27e0fc9d-en. Viewed 4 September 2019.
Schlichthorst M, Sanci LA and Hocking JS 2016. Health and lifestyle factors associated with sexual difficulties in men – results from a study of Australian men aged 18 to 55 years. BMC Public Health, 16:3, 1043.
WHO 2019a. Sexual and reproductive health: defining sexual health. Geneva: WHO. Viewed 11 July 2019.
WHO 2019b. Sexually transmitted infections (STIs): Key facts. Geneva: WHO. Viewed 25 March 2019
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