Frequently asked questions

When is the clinic open?

Canberra Sexual Health Centre is open Monday through Friday from 9am to 5pm. We are not open on weekends or public holidays.

How do I book an appointment at the clinic?

Please call 02 5124 2184 and one of our sexual health nurses will discuss your needs and book an appointment as necessary.

You can call to speak to the nurse about an appointment on

  • Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays between 9am and 4.30pm; and
  • Wednesdays between 12.30pm and 4.30pm
Last time I visited, I was able to walk in and wait. Why do I need to phone and book now?

Due to ongoing requirements of social distancing related to the COVID-19 pandemic, patient numbers within our clinic need to be managed through a booked appointment system. This is so we can safely manage the health of our patients and staff. Having a booked appointment means you will be seen on time without having to wait too long.

I’m nearby the centre today, can I just drop in for an STI test?

No. You must call 02 5124 2184, one of our sexual health nurses will discuss your needs and may book an appointment today or within the next few days.

You can call to speak to the nurse about an appointment on

  • Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays between 9am and 4.30pm; and
  • Wednesdays between 12.30pm and 4.30pm
What happens if I am late for my booked appointment?

We will try to see you, but you may need to re-schedule or you may even need to call again for another appointment time. If you are running late, please try to call and let us know.

It is important you arrive 5 -10 minutes before your scheduled time. Please allow time to find parking on the hospital campus.

What if I can’t attend my booked appointment?

You will need to call 02 5124 2184 and speak to Reception staff who will cancel your appointment and rebook if necessary. It is important to let us know early so we can give this time to someone else.

What happens if I have missed my booked appointment?

You will need to call 02 5124 2184 and book another appointment

Where is the clinic located?

Canberra Sexual Health Centre is located on the ground floor of building 5 at the Canberra Hospital, behind the ANU Medical School and the National Capital Private Hospital in Garran. The clinic entrance faces the car park behind the private hospital, which can be accessed from Hospital Road. There is an accessible ramp located to the left of the clinic entry.

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What are the symptoms of STI?

Common symptoms of STI include:

  • Discharge from your penis, anus or vagina
  • Genital or anal rash, lumps, ulcers or sores
  • Pain when you pass urine / pee
  • Deep pelvic pain with vaginal sex

If you have symptoms, you should consider having a STI test. It’s important that you don’t have sex while you have symptoms to prevent accidently passing on infections to your partners.

I have symptoms and I think I have an STI, what do I do?

You should call to book an appointment time. When you call, one of our sexual health nurses will talk to you about your symptoms, sexual activity and sexual partners; if indicated an appointment will be made for you, in most cases your appointment will be the same day or the next day. In some cases, we may help you find another suitable service.

It’s important that you don’t have sex while you have symptoms to prevent accidently passing on infections to your partners.

Someone I had sex with has told me they have an STI, what should I do?

It is important you get tested. You should call to book an appointment time at the clinic or with your GP.

When you call, one of our sexual health nurses will talk to you about your sexual activity and partners and book an appointment time for you. In some cases, we may help you find another suitable service.

Is there a cost to attend the clinic?

Canberra Sexual Health Centre is free to attend.

Do I need a Medicare card?

You do not require a Medicare card, but if you have one please bring it with you.

Do I need a referral from my GP to book an appointment?

You do not require a referral to book an appointment.

If you would like your GP included in your care or if your GP has sent you to the clinic, we appreciate GP referrals addressed to Dr Sarah Martin or Dr Alexandra Tyson. These can be faxed to 02 5124 8200 or bring it to the clinic with you. You must call to book an appointment time and advise the staff member that you have a referral.

Where else can I get tested?

You can access testing and treatment for STI at any GP.

For other alternatives or suggested GP clinics see: https://meridianact.org.au/get-tested/

Where can I get emergency contraception (the ‘morning after pill’) in Canberra?

You can get emergency contraceptive pills from the following:

  • Most pharmacies in the ACT. You do not need a prescription.
  • The Walk-in Centres
  • Sexual Health and Family Planning ACT
  • The Junction Youth Health Service
  • Canberra Sexual Health Centre
How do I get my results?

Results can take up to 7 days to be returned to the clinic and all negative results are sent by SMS with your permission.  Please be assured that if you have any positive results the clinic will contact you by your preferred contact method.

What happens if I test positive for an STI?

This will depend on the treatment and follow up that is required. Treatment for STI is offered by booked appointment at the clinic or we might send you a prescription to pick up treatment from your local pharmacy.

If you test positive for STI we will talk to you about letting your sexual partners know that they should get tested too. This helps to stop the spread of infection. We can help you do this if you feel uncomfortable talking to your partners.

What is HIV Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis? (PrEP)

PrEP is a preventive treatment for people with a medium to high risk of contracting HIV. PrEP is a daily medication, with 3-monthly check ups for STI and HIV, and regular kidney function checks.  GPs as well as doctors and nurse practitioners at the Sexual Health Centre can prescribe PrEP.

PrEP medication can be dispensed by any community pharmacy, although some may need a few days to order in your medication. If you have a Medicare card, PrEP costs the same as most usual prescriptions.

If you do not have a Medicare card, you can purchase PrEP privately with a prescription through online pharmacies.  Please book an appointment at the Sexual Health Centre or call Meridian (formerly the AIDS Action Council) on 02 6257 2855 for more information.

For more information on all aspects of PrEP, please see the PrEP Factsheet.

HIV Post Exposure Prophylaxis (PEP)

HIV PEP should be started as soon as possible after HIV exposure. Please call us between 8:30am and 5pm to arrange an urgent PEP consultation—this includes Wednesday mornings when our clinic is closed. Please tell us you need a PEP consultation when you call.

If you require after hours PEP assistance, please visit your nearest Emergency Department.

For more information, please see the PEP Brochure.

Page last updated on: 2 Jul 2020