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HealthInfo Waitaha Canterbury

Sexual Health Centre

Pokapū Hauora Aitanga

SHAG logo - Sexual health advice & guidanceThe Christchurch Hospital Sexual Health Centre is a specialised outpatients clinic.

It's for people needing tests, treatment and follow-up for sexually transmitted infections (STIs) and other specific genital or sexual health related problems.

All services are free if you're eligible for free or subsidised health care in New Zealand.

Even if you aren't eligible, screening and treating most STIs is still free. Ask the Sexual Health Centre if you'll be charged for treatment.

Health care at the Sexual Health Centre is confidential. But if another healthcare provider such as your usual general practice team has referred you to the service for advice about a particular problem, the doctors or nurses will usually write back to them to give advice.

Making an appointment

You need to phone to make an appointment before going to the clinic. You will not be seen if you go along without an appointment.

To make sure everything goes well at your visit, please:

Let the clinic know if there is something about your visit that isn't quite right so they can look at how to make it better.

When you arrive, the receptionist will record your name and other contact details. They will ask you to take a seat in the waiting area.

You may want your partner or support person to come along with you. Just be aware that you may need to discuss personal information in your consultation with the doctor or nurse. You can do this without your partner or support person present if you wish.

During your consultation

You can ask to see a female or male doctor or nurse. Depending on your problem, the clinic will try to meet your preference, but sometimes it might not be able to. If you need any follow-up appointments, you'll normally see the same person, but this may not always be possible.

The doctor or nurse will first ask about what is worrying you. They will then ask some questions to find out what is likely to have caused the problem. These questions can sometimes be sensitive as they include questions about your sex life, but they aren't meant to embarrass or upset you. The questions will help the doctor or nurse decide which tests you need, and which treatment is best for you. It's your choice how much information you share.

With your consent (meaning you'll be asked if it's OK), the doctor or nurse will examine you and do the required tests. You'll be offered a chaperone (another health professional) to be with you for any genital examination. A female nurse will always be present if a male doctor is examining a female.

Generally, testing for STIs includes taking swabs and wee (urine) samples for chlamydia, gonorrhoea and trichomonas and sometimes for other infections. A blood test is also done for syphilis, HIV and anything else your doctor or nurse requests.

If you do not want other health professionals (such as your general practice team) to have access to your STI results, the clinic can code your test results so they do not go to the lab under your name. You can ask for this when you talk to the doctor or nurse who is doing your testing.

The clinic might do some tests while you wait but most tests will take around five to seven working days before the results come through. Some tests may take longer. The clinic will need to contact you if a test is positive or needs repeating. So, please check your contact details and the best way to contact you at every visit.


You can get condoms for free from the clinic – just ask for them.

You may be given pills, creams or injections if they're needed to treat your problem. The doctor or nurse will tell you how to take or use any medication and give you written information. You do not need to pay for treatments that you get while you're at the clinic. Sometimes they will give you a prescription to take to a pharmacy and there may be a charge at the pharmacy.

Contact tracing and partner notification

If you've been diagnosed with an STI, you'll need to contact your recent sexual partners so they can be treated at the same time to prevent the infection spreading further.


You may need to return for another appointment. This is usually to make sure that any treatment you've been given has solved your problem. It may also be for further treatment and advice. If you miss a follow-up appointment, the clinic may phone you to check if you're still having any problems that may need following up.

Written by HealthInfo clinical advisers and the Christchurch Hospital Sexual Health Clinic. Last reviewed August 2022. Last updated April 2023.


Page reference: 21685

Review key: HISHC-21685