For information about contraception, pregnancy options and sexual health in Victoria

Am I old enough for sexual and reproductive healthcare?

on 08 Dec 2023 6:31 AM
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If you are a young person and you are having sex, it is important that you know your health rights and the law. You can talk to someone older that you know and trust, or get information from your doctor, nurse, or counsellor. 

What if I don’t want my parents to find out?  

Confidentiality is a rule that says what you say to someone will not be told to others, unless you agree. This means that if you see a doctor, nurse, or counsellor about sex, contraception, STIs, or abortion they cannot tell anybody else without your permission. The only except to this might be if they suspect you are in danger; in this case, they will discuss with you about what they might need to do. 

Am I too young to have contraception, abortion or screening tests?  

There is no minimum age for getting contraception, screening for sexually transmitted infections, or having an abortion. Condoms can be purchased from a supermarket, petrol station, or chemist at any age. If you want other contraception options, your doctor can prescribe it or insert it for you. Your doctor or nurse can arrange screening for STIs as well. These tests are done by taking a blood sample, urine test, or swabs. If your tests are positive for infection the doctor will prescribe medications for treatment, and your sexual partner may also need treatment. 

It is important that you know what your options are if you have an unplanned pregnancy. If you are under 16 years old and pregnant, you can have an abortion without your parents/ guardian permission. The doctor will make sure that you understand what is involved with having an abortion and get your consent before going ahead with the procedure. Consent means that you sign a document that says you understand and agree to an abortion. 

If you want to keep the pregnancy and are under 16, a plan will be made with you about how to keep you safe, and how you are going to support yourself and a baby. You also have the option of fostering or adopting your baby to someone else. 

A cervical screening test (CST) is recommended every 5 years for people with a cervix after they turn 25 years old.  This test checks for the human papilloma virus (HPV) that can cause changes to cervical cells, and after many years cause cancer.  Since June 2022, CSTs can be self-collected, meaning you use a swab and take a high vaginal sample yourself. In some circumstances, a doctor or nurse will take a CST using a speculum.  Testing might be more frequent than every 5 years if you have a positive result. 

If you want more information about your rights as a young person, go to Victorian Legal Aid.