Sexual Health: A Topic of No Conversation

11 Oct 2018

Sexual health is often a hard and sensitive topic of conversation for many young people, including myself. Recently I went to the doctors with my mum because I had weird infection in my mouth and nearly had a heart attack when the doctor told me I might have chlamydia, a sexually transmissible infection (STI). He proceeded to ask me numerous questions about my sexual activity in front of my mum. As you can imagine it was an extremely embarrassing and uncomfortable situation to say the least. The doctor took a swab of my mouth. Waiting those two days for the test results to come back felt like forever. The doctor reassured me that if I did in fact have chlamydia, it would be easily treatable with a course of antibiotics. Although, I was lucky in this instance as the results came back negative. Before this scare, I didn’t even know you could get an STI in your mouth. After this happening, I decided to do some research on how to prevent the spread of STIs so I wouldn’t find myself in a similar situation again.

I knew about the sexual health clinic which runs weekly at headspace Armadale and decided to pay their Sexual Health Nurse Practitioner (Donna) a visit to ask her a few questions. Donna told me a range of services she offers such as:

  • Sexually transmittable disease (STI) testing and treatment

  • Provide information and prescribe some contraceptives (Implanon® insertions, the pill)

  • Information and education about sexual health and safe sex practices

  • Basic counselling about sexual health and sexuality issues

  • Pregnancy testing and unplanned pregnancy counselling

  • Emergency contraception

  • Cervical screening (previously called pap smears)

  • Vaccinations (e.g. hepatitis and human papillomavirus)

The sexual health clinic at headspace Armadale is free, confidential and open every Thursday 2-4pm for young people aged 12-25. You can phone headspace Armadale for an appointment on 9393 0300 or just drop in. You don’t need a Medicare card and you don’t need to attend with a parent. There is no need to worry about paying a cent for the consultation or testing or worrying that your parents might know where you went. Like all aspects of our health, including our physical and mental health, sexual health is important.

 Author: Anonymous Young Person Aged 20

* Many headspace centres provide free sexual health services. To find out information about your closest centre, go to https://www.headspace.org.au/headspace-centres/