ACCESS TO STI TESTING & TREATMENT FOR RURAL YOUNG PEOPLE
For rural young people, issues of privacy, lack of transport, cost and perceived stigma are some of the barriers that prevent them from accessing STI testing and treatment.
Below are some resources that may help with assisting the young people you work with to access STI testing and treatment.
CERSH are also interested to hear from workers in areas where services are limited, so we can assess where additional training, resources and possible service linkages may be able to help. Please get in touch to discuss access in your area and together we can come up with strategies for improvements.
FINDING APPROPRIATE SERVICES IN YOUR AREA
It can be difficult to establish the services in your local area that provide STI testing and treatment. All general practice clinics should provide these, however some young people may not be comfortable attending their family GP to ask for an STI test.
1800 My Options is a service of Women's Health Victoria and is supported by the Victorian Government. The service provides non-judgemental and confidential information and referrals to trusted services. Since launching in May 2018, the service continues to add to the centralised database of services across the whole of Victoria.
You can access the service either by phione, or they have an online service search map (that includes a filter to search for STI screening services).
ACCESS TO STI TESTING AND TREATMENT
For young people where access to a clinic that offers sexual health testing is limited, there is a free and confidential service called TESTme offered by Melbourne Sexual Health Centre (MSHC).
TESTme has been developed by staff at MSHC in response to the increasing STI rates in Victoria and the difficulty some people have accessing sexual health services in regional/rural Victoria. Research shows people living in rural Victoria have lower rates of STI testing than people who live in Melbourne.
TESTme is offered to rural Victorians aged 25 years and younger, rural Victorian men who have sex with men and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.
The online service offers a free testing kit to be sent out with discrete packaging, clear instructions and everything needed to take the simple test.
If a result is positive, a nurse will call with information and in most cases, can post the treatment, making a visit to the doctor unnecessary.