Rural + Regional Communities
If you live in rural and regional Victoria, it can sometimes be hard to access sexual and reproductive health care.
This can be due to a range of factors including:
- Lack of local services and supports
- Limited choice in health care providers
- Issues of privacy and anonymity in small towns
- Lack of public transport
- High cost of services
- Social and physical isolation
Many rural and regional services, however, are very aware of the challenges women living in their communities face and will try their best to meet your needs. For example, some services may have same-day appointments for rural patients or telehealth options.
Rural and regional abortion services
If you are seeking an abortion and are 12+ weeks pregnant you will need to travel to Melbourne, as most rural and regional based abortion services currently have a 12 week limit.
If you are earlier than 12 weeks pregnant, there are GP services, hospitals and private clinics which can provide medication and surgical abortion services.
Finding a service near you
If you are finding it difficult to locate sexual and reproductive health services in rural or regional Victoria, 1800 My Options can help.
TESTme is a free service of Melbourne Sexual Health Centre (MSHC) for rural Victorians aged 25 years and younger, rural Victorian men who have sex with men and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. It offers self-testing kits for chlamydia and gonorrhea, which will be posted to you.
- Thorne Harbour Country
Thorne Harbour Country provides support, counselling, rapid HIV testing, resources and information around LGBTQIA+ wellbeing, HIV, Hepatitis C and sexual health across the Loddon Mallee. It provides a safe place for the LGBTQIA+ community to connect and access information, resources and referrals.
- Centre for Excellence in Rural Sexual Health (CERSH)
Programs, resources and training for workers across the Hume and Loddon Mallee region.
- SHOUT Rural – Sexual Health Out and About
Provides resources to assist workers in rural/regional Victoria who engage with young people. Seeks to promote positive sexual health messages, improve access to condoms and encourage regular STI testing.