Sexual Health

image of orchid - links to sexual health page

Sexual health covers many issues including safe sex, sexually transmitted infections (STIs), sexual organ health and pregnancy.

A culture of silence, shame or negative messages about our bodies and sex prevents many of us from talking about experiences and getting the support we need. We may fear we are the only ones to have a problem or feel uncertain or confused. We may worry about a negative response if we talk to someone or feel too embarrassed to bring up an issue. There’s no shame in looking after your sexual health and finding products, testing or resources that work for you. Find out more below on our current on-campus condom initiative and HIV self-testing machines.

Information on this page is about looking after our sexual wellbeing from a physical point of view. If you have concerns about your sexuality then check out our page on sexuality, or if it is concern about the actual sex act, then look at our sex and more sex page. If you’re more interested in exploring resources on gender identity then have a look at our gender identity page.

The Machine in the Barr Smith Library which provides free HIV self testing kits

Free HIV self-test kits

Register to access a free HIV self testing kit on North Terrace campus (see sexual health check tab for locations). If you want to talk to someone, Counselling Support is available to UoA students.

HIV Self Testing

A pink cabinet with two doors located in the Barr Smith Library

Safe Sex, No Regrets

Student can access free sexual health products such as condoms and lube for free in the pink cabinet on level 3 Hub Central, North Terrace campus. 


Below you will find three common blocks (barriers and misconceptions) that can prevent us from looking after our sexual health.

  • I don't know what normal is

    There is huge variation in how sex organs look and function plus a mix of sex characteristics. On top of this, things can also change over time as a result of pregnancy, infection, how we use our sexual organs, hormones and age. Hearing from others can help get us started and on the path to discovering our own ‘normal’. SHINE SA have a diverse catalogue of resources including a Podcast, “Sexual Health Matters”. It is always worth talking to an experienced medical professional if you are worried or experiencing any pain or discomfort.

  • If I ignore it, it will go away

    Pain or discomfort can make lots of us fear the worst and stick our heads in the sand. Pain has lots of possible explanations so the first thing to know is that support is available. Sometimes pain can be caused by an STI but it can also be a result of tension, muscle contractions or anxiety amongst other things. As a rule of thumb, if you are in pain, see a medical doctor and have things checked out. There are a list of useful services in ‘Need more info’ below.

    If stress or anxiety are the cause, there are lots of great resources that might help you connect and explore what pleasure means to you. Scarleteen have some useful articles

    (*Please note, Scarlateen is based in the US therefore some legal and service information may not be relevant to Australia.)

  • I'm pregnant / my partner's pregnant!

    Depending on your aims and goals in life, or the time of life, being pregnant may not always fit in with your desires. If you want to explore your options it is vital to find a service that offers all the alternatives, and counselling if required, so that you can feel comfortable reaching a decision. In South Australia, the Pregnancy Advisory Centre is a good starting place. 

    Contrary to what we often hear, many women do not find their response to an unplanned pregnancy to be a difficult decision, for others it can be very difficult and it can be useful to talk this through with a counselling service specialising in this area, or by reading some quality information. Good information about the myths around unplanned pregnancies can be found on the Children by Choice website.


Below are three things you can do to boost success.

  • Find resources that talk to you

    There is lots of information available on safe sex methods, contraception and STIs and it’s important to find resources that make sense and give you what you need. SHINE SA are a great central resource and have detailed factsheets on all things sexual health. Scarlateen and Playsafe are also full of great information.

    (*Please note, Scarlateen is based in the US therefore some legal and service information may not be relevant to Australia.)

  • Get a sexual health check

    We are regularly checked throughout our lives for all sorts of ailments, and our sexual organs are just another set of organs that need some taking care of. It is a good idea to find health professionals (GPs in particular) that you are comfortable with so you can discuss these matters - and remember for them it is just another organ and they are very comfortable talking, examining and discussing this. There are some services that specialise in sexual health checks which can help to put you at ease.

    Through a partnership between SAMESH and Student Life, UoA students can now access free HIV self-testing kits on North Terrace campus. Machines are located on Hub Level 3 (vending machines next to Flentje lecture theatre exit) and All Gender bathroom, Level 2, Barr Smith South (opposite 2032). Tests are accessed through scanning the QR code on the machine, QR code on any of the HIV CONNECT posters on campus or on the SAMESH website.

    If you want to hear more about the CONNECT project and the research that underpins it, check out this podcast for more information.

  • Talk about safe sex methods and equip yourself

    It is useful to revisit your contraception methods or infection prevention from time to time to make sure it is the best possible choice for you. Don't assume that it is all taken care of by a partner. Whilst it can be a bit of a struggle to talk to a partner about addressing contraception and preventing infections, it is also an important part of working out how someone is going to treat you. Why not gather some evidence early on?

    UofA students can access free condoms and dental dams using our “Safe Sex, No Regrets” locker during semester time. See the link at the top of the page to submit a request.

Need more info?


Pregnancy advice


Refer to our Sex, more sex page for information on problems, concerns, consent etc.