Dr Carole Khaw is a senior registrar in her final year of advanced training in sexual health medicine, working part-time at Clinic 275, STD Services at the Royal Adelaide Hospital. She is also a clinical skills lecturer at the University of Adelaide
Why did you choose to become a sexual health physician?
I had worked in private practice in primary care for many years and felt I needed a different challenge. I’d always had an interest in sexually transmitted infections and the fascinating field of HIV medicine. I also had some primary care experience in other important aspects of sexual health medicine. This specialty provided me the opportunity to consolidate my knowledge.
What do you like about the training program?
The training program is robust. I have enjoyed the opportunities to formally learn a diverse range of new skills and also consolidate knowledge in areas like biostatistics, epidemiology, health promotion and laboratory methods. The training program also provides opportunities for research and for presenting at national sexual health conferences.
What are the main challenges?
From a training perspective, a challenge has been the formal study requirements. There were several areas of formal study (university courses) and three research projects to complete. From a personal perspective, I went back into training while working full-time, studying and raising a family (I have two wonderful children and a supportive partner). So the challenge has been that of time management and balance.
How much is the training costing you?
I pay an annual RACP training fee and this varies depending on whether you are in part-time or full-time training. As I work in the public sector, I get a professional development allowance that helped pay for the university courses, which cost from $1500 to $3000.
What’s next for you?
I hope to contribute to the field by improving the teaching of sexual health medicine at the undergraduate and postgraduate level. I would also like to help improve public awareness of sexual health. To achieve this, I hope to continue working part-time as a clinician at my current workplace, working as a university medical educator and becoming involved in more research.