LGBTIQ+ health

South Eastern NSW is home to many diverse communities, including people who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersex and queer (LGBTIQ+, sometimes written as LGBTI or LGBTIQA+). 

LGBTIQ+ communities have specific health needs and find it difficult to access safe, inclusive and queer-friendly health services; particularly in regional and rural areas.

This may be due to the stigma and discrimination some LGBTIQ+ people face in their everyday lives, including from the health sector. Social isolation can also be a significant factor. When compared to the general population, LGBTIQ+ people face a higher risk of certain conditions, such as:

  • poor mental health outcomes (including anxiety, depression, self-harm and suicide) [1]
  • alcohol and/or drug misuse or dependence [2]
  • some STIs, including HIV [3]
  • some cancers [4].

Below is a summary of some of the services available in South Eastern NSW to support LGBTIQ+ people, their families, friends and allies.

ACON regional outreach (NSW) | (02) 9206 2114 or 1800 063 060 ACON specialises in HIV prevention, HIV support and LGBTIQ+ health. Services include state-wide counselling, care coordination, substance support, peer education and health promotion. ACON also has regional outreach programs for the Illawarra Shoalhaven and Southern NSW. Email: regionaloutreach@acon.org.au.

Bi+ AustraliaBi+ Australia is a national organisation dedicated to improving the mental health of bisexual and pansexual people through support, education and research.

Bobby Goldsmith Foundation (NSW) | (02) 9283 8666 or 1800 651 010Counselling, housing, study, employment and financial support for people living with HIV.

Ending HIV (NSW) The ACON campaign Ending HIV is focused on ending HIV transmission among gay men.

The Gender Centre (NSW) | 02) 9569 2366 or 1800 069 115The Gender Centre is a trans and gender diverse accommodation service. Also provides education, support, training and referral.

headspaceheadspace is a one-stop-shop for young people aged 12-25 who need help with mental health, physical health (including sexual health), alcohol and other drugs or work / study support.

*In 2019, headspace Nowra is introducing a new support group for young people aged 16–21 who identify as LGBTIQ+, led by peer facilitators. Contact headspace Nowra on (02) 4221 5388 or email info@headspacenowra.org.au to register your interest.

Inner City Legal Centre (NSW) ICLC provides specialist legal advice for LGBTIQ+ people anywhere in NSW.

Intersex Human Rights Australia (national) National body and lobby group for people born with variations of sex characteristics.

Justice Connect - Hormone treatment referrals for young trans and gender diverse people. 

Minus 18 (national) Minus 18 is a youth-led social and support organisation for gay, lesbian, bisexual and trans young people.

NSW Sexual Health Info Link | 1800 451 624 NSW Sexual Health Info Link is a phone and online sexual health service with information on HIV and STI risk, testing and treatment.

Parents of Trans Kids (Nowra) – Support group for parents of transgender and gender diverse or gender questioning young people. This occurs once per school term and is facilitated by ACON in partnership with headspace Nowra. Individual appointments with an ACON family worker are also available on the day of each support group. Contact headspace Nowra on (02) 4221 5388 or email info@headspacenowra.org.au to register your interest.

Parents of Trans Kids (Wollongong) – On the first Tuesday of every month, The Gender Centre and headspace Wollongong host a monthly support group for parents of transgender and gender diverse children. Contact headspace Wollongong on (02) 4220 7660 or headspace@gph.org.au to register your interest.

Police LGBTIQ+ Liaison Officers – Many local police stations have a dedicated LGBTIQ+ Liaison Officer but if you cannot locate one, contact the NSW Region Sponsor, Sexuality, Gender Diversity and Intersex.

  • Goulburn: (02) 4823 0399
  • Lake Illawarra: (02) 4232 5599
  • Nowra: (02) 4421 9699
  • Queanbeyan: (02) 6298 0599
  • Wollongong: (02) 4226 7899

Positive Life NSW | (02) 9206 2177 or 1800 245 677 Positive Life provides information, support, referral and advocacy for people living with HIV.

The Institute of Many - TIM (national) TIM is Australia’s largest grassroots movement and support group for people living with HIV.

Twenty10 | (0) 8594 9550 (admin) or (02) 8594 9555 (intake) Twenty10 provides specialist support for young people of diverse genders and sexualities, and intersex status.

ACON - Provides a range of counselling services for LGBTIQ+ people in need of support and assistance. Call us on (02) 9206 2000 or visit the website

Beyondblue - Provides mental health support, action and advice. It has information specifically for the LGBTIQ+ community.

Bi+ Australia - Bi+ Australia provides mental health support specifically for bisexual and pansexual people, as well as clinical education for health professionals. 

LifeFlex LGBQ - My Digital Health has created a tailored digital mental health program for LGBQ people. LifeFlex LGBQ is suitable for people aged 18+ who are experiencing mild to moderate anxiety and depression. 

QLife | 1800 184 527 - Australia’s only LGBTIQ+ counselling service, available every day from 3pm to midnight via phone or web chat.

The Black Dog Institute - The Black Dog Institute has a mental health support program for teenagers called Bite Back.

WayAhead Directory WayAhead is an education hub with information about anxiety and other mental health issues.

For Local Needle and Syringe Programs in South Eastern NSW, click here.

The Teen Clinics across the region can help young people with general health, contraception advice, mental health issues, relationship concerns, STI screening, health education, homelessness and more. The clinics are free, nurse-led, drop in services for teenagers in a safe, confidential, non-judgmental environment.

  • Teen Clinic Bega (Bega Valley Medical Practice)  – Tuesday and Thursday 2–5pm, phone (02) 6492 3333.
  • Teen Clinic Eden (Curalo Medical Clinic) – Tuesday and Thursday 1–5pm, phone (02) 6496 3322.
  • Teen Clinic Kiama – Monday and Thursday 2-5pm, phone (02) 4232 1244.
  • Teen Clinic Merimbula (Merimbula Main Street Medical Centre) – Tuesday and Wednesday 3.30–5pm, phone (02) 6495 2555.
  • Teen Clinic Narooma (Lighthouse Surgery) – Tuesday and Thursday 2-5pm, phone (02) 4476 2999.
  • The Wednesday Room (Jindabyne Medical Practice) – Every Wednesday 2–6pm, phone (02) 4861 8000.

Other services (by region)

Bega
  • Bega Sexual Health Service (Bega Valley Community Health) Provides testing and treatment for HIV, STIs and hepatitis B and C.
Goulburn
  • Goulburn Sexual Health Service (Goulburn Community Health) | (02) 4827 3913 – Testing and treatment for HIV, STIs, and hepatitis B and C, access to PEP, information and advice on PrEP and sexual health, vaccination for hepatitis A and B.  
Illawarra Shoalhaven
  • Grand Pacific Health Centre (Nowra) | (02) 4448 2255 – GPH Nowra offers primary health services including sexual health testing.
  • Illawarra Drug and Alcohol Service | 1300 652 226 – Illawarra Drug and Alcohol Service is a free, confidential and non-judgemental service offering a range of treatments for drug and alcohol dependence. It has safe needle, syringes and disposal bins for people who inject drugs. Open Monday to Friday, 9am - 4.30pm. To contact the Needle and Syringe Program, phone 0411 408 726.
  • Nowra Sexual Health Clinic (Shoalhaven District Hospital) | (02) 4423 9353 – Testing and treatment for HIV, STIs, and hepatitis B and C, access to PrEP and PEP, information and advice on sexual health, vaccination for hepatitis A and B.
  • Port Kembla Sexual Health Service | (02) 4223 845  This service at Port Kembla Hospital provides queer-friendly sexual health screening and education, including testing and treatment for HIV, STIs, Hep B and C; PrEP and PEP; vaccinations and contraception.
Queanbeyan
  • Queanbeyan Community Health (Queanbeyan Hospital) | (02) 4827 3913 – Testing and treatment for HIV, STIs, and hepatitis B and C, access to PEP, information and advice on PrEP and sexual health, vaccination for hepatitis A and B.
Snowy Mountains
  • Sharp Street Surgery | (02) 6455 0000 – Walk-in clinic in Cooma, providing STI screenings on Mondays from 2–4pm. Bulk billing available for students (with ID) and concession card holders.
Bega
  • Bega Valley LGBTIQ+ Support Group – Closed LGBTIQ+ group for people living in the Bega Valley, Sapphire Coast and surrounds.
  • Sapphire Coast Women’s Social Group Social group for women attracted to other women on the NSW Far South Coast.
Goulburn
  • Diversity GoulburnDiversity Goulburn is a social and support group for LGBTIQ+ people, friends, family, health professionals and other community organisations.
  • Rainbow Christian Alliance – Monthly meetings for LGBTIQ+ faith communities and allies. Email: rainbow@tuc.org.au.
  • StandOUT – headspace Goulburn’s LGBTIQ+ youth group meets the second and fourth Thursday of the month, 4.30 – 6.30pm. Phone (02) 4824 4944 or email info@headspacegoulburn.org.au.
Illawarra Shoalhaven
  • Allsorts Queer Collective Allsorts is the University of Wollongong’s queer collective. The student-run group organise regular meetings, events and social gatherings.
  • Gong Guys Gong Guys is a social group and support network for gay and bisexual men in the Illawarra.
  • Illawarra LGBTIQ+ Inclusion Network (ILIN) - A new advocacy network for LGBTIQ+ community members, health and social services professionals, friends and allies in the Illawarra area. Meets monthly. You can join the Facebook group here
  • Lesbians in the Shoalhaven Area (LISA) – Social group for lesbians living in the Shoalhaven. LISA meets for breakfast on the second Sunday of every month. Phone: Moira on 0416 293 281
  • Parents and Friends of Lesbians and Gay people (PFLAG) Illawarra Shoalhaven – Social group and support network for parents, families and friends of LGBTIQ+ people. Phone 0410 147 435 or email pflagillawarra.southern@gmail.com.
  • Rainbow League (Wollongong) – Rainbow League is a social group for people aged 16 – 25 who identify as same-sex attracted, gender diverse or questioning. The group meets fortnightly at Wollongong Youth Centre. Contact headspace Wollongong on (02) 4220 7660 or headspace@gph.org.au to register your interest.
  • REAL Illawarra – A social and community support network for lesbians, email real.illawarra@gmail.com.
  • South Coast Rainbow Community – A NSW South Coast social and support group for lesbian, gay, bi, trans, intersex and queer people, families and friends.
  • Sydney Bi+ Network - Sydney Bi+ Network is a community support group for bi+ people in the greater Sydney region.
  • Transitions: Illawarra Trans Community – A group for trans and gender diverse people to connect and share information.
Queanbeyan
  • A Gender Agenda – Canberra-based intersex and gender diverse support organisation. Provides information, support and community events. Phone: (02) 6162 1924.
  • AIDS Action Council of the ACT – Canberra-based HIV prevention and support organisation. Phone (02) 6257 2855 or email contact@aidsaction.org.au.
  • Spectrum – A group for LGBTIQ+ young people aged 12 – 25 that meets on the first and third Mondays of each month, 4.30 – 6pm at headspace Queanbeyan. Phone (02) 6298 0300 or email nat.oliver@headspace.org.au.
Snowy Mountains
  • Connect – A social support group for young LGBTIQ+ people that meets on the third Tuesday of each month from 4pm at the Hub Youth Centre, Cooma. Phone: 0437 135 092.

Resources are available to assist general practices and health professionals in building more inclusive services:

ACT & Southern NSW HealthPathways

ACT & Southern NSW HealthPathways is an online portal for GPs and health professionals. HealthPathways has a specific suite of pathways addressing LGBTIQ+ health needs and support services in the ACT & Southern NSW region, including transgender health in children, adolescents and adults.