Sexual Health

Let’s face it: sexual health can be an embarrassing topic. It’s probably not something we think about until we have a problem, and too often the anxiety or shame we experience around our sexual health can stop us getting the help we need.

But don’t be shy! The University offers a free and confidential counselling service where you can discuss any issues or concerns you may have about sex or your sexual health. If you are a student from another country, please know it is acceptable in Australia to talk to a counsellor about this kind of thing, and cultural differences will be respected.

You might be wondering…

STDs and STIs essentially refer to the same thing, and are often used interchangeably. However, they are technically different – STD is short for sexually transmitted diseases, while STI is short for sexually transmitted infections.

STIs are infections that can be passed from person to person through any form of sexual activity (including non-penetrative sexual activity). Examples of STIs include genital warts, genital herpes, syphilis, HIV, Hepatitis B, gonorrhoea and chlamydia.

Using a condom properly every time you have sex will help to protect you against sexually transmitted infections (STIs) and unplanned pregnancies. The Australian Government’s Healthdirect is a good source of information about safe sex and the proper use of condoms.

STIs are bacterial, viral or parasitic infections passed from one person to another during vaginal, anal and oral sex. They can infect several areas of your body and do not always have any obvious signs or symptoms. Having unprotected sex can put you at risk of contracting an STI. SHine SA is a good source of more information.

Using contraception will help prevent unwanted pregnancy. But it’s important to remember that only some contraceptives will also protect you against STIs; namely condoms. These days there is a wide range of contraceptive methods available for use. These include hormone-based medications administered either orally or otherwise, barrier contraceptives and timing methods. It is important to consult with a doctor or health professional to help you decide which method is best for you, especially since many contraceptives require a prescription. Talking to your GP or pharmacist is a good place to start.

For more information about the types of contraception available, download the SHine SA’s Choices in Contraception (PDF 56kb).

Both you and your partner need to be 17 years or older to legally have sex in South Australia.

Many people explore and come to terms with their sexual identity during their University years. If you think you may be gay, lesbian, bi-sexual, transgender, transsexual, queer or intersex, and want to talk about it with someone, you can speak with a University counsellor at no cost or contact SHine SA's Sexual Healthline on 1300 883 793, or for country callers 1800 188 171.

Sexual assault is an inclusive term used to describe any type of unwanted sexual act inflicted upon a person that they have not freely and voluntarily consented to, have withdrawn consent to, or occurs in circumstances where they are incapable of giving free and voluntary consent.  It is inclusive of a variety of unwanted sexual behaviours a person may be subjected to, ranging from activities such as unwanted sexualised touching through to sexual intercourse without consent. Sexual assault can include behaviours that involve the use of force, threats, coercion or control towards a person.  Grooming can be a part of the process used to facilitate sexual assault and is defined as the act of deliberately establishing a relationship of trust for the purpose of sexual exploitation, sexual coercion or sexual assault.  Sexual assault typically involves an exploitation of vulnerability, betrayal of trust and the misuse of positional power. 

There are a range of support options available to you if you have experienced sexual assault or harassment.  It doesn’t matter if the incident occurred recently or a long time ago, if it happened on-campus or off-campus, or whether you are a student or a staff member.  Support is always available and we encourage you to make use of the free and confidential services both at UniSA or, if you prefer, outside of the University.

Click here for more information.

Consent is the free and voluntary agreement to engage in sexual activity.  Some examples of where consent is not considered to have been given are: 

  • consent has been expressed or compelled by the words or conduct of an individual other than the complainant;
  • the complainant was incapable of consenting to the sexual activity if they were asleep, unconscious or intoxicated by alcohol or any other substance or combination of substances to the point of being incapable of giving free and voluntary consent to sexual activity;
  • physical force, threats of harm, an express or implied threat to degrade, humiliate, disgrace or harass the person or some other person; or unlawful detention were used by the respondent to engage the complainant in sexual activity;
  • the respondent induced, manipulated or otherwise coerced the complainant to engage in the activity by abusing a position of trust, power or authority;
  • the complainant expressed, by words or conduct, a lack of consent to engage in the sexual activity;
  • the complainant, having previously consented to engage in sexual activity, withdraws consent to the sexual activity;
  • the complainant agreed to engage in sexual activity with a person under a mistaken belief as to the identity of that person;
  • the complainant is mistaken about the nature of the sexual activity (for example the complainant may be told that activity of a sexual nature is part of the provision of health care);
  • the respondent was recklessly indifferent as to whether the complainant consented to sexual activity or withdrew consent to sexual activity.

Need further assistance?

Contact Campus Central

Your one-stop-shop for student services. UniSA general enquiries: 1300 301 703.