Sex Workers


We believe that providing sexual health care for all sex workers is important for your health and safety.  Therefore, we aim to provide a safe, non judgmental environment for you to attend MSHC for your sexual health check ups and certificates. 

Our services are confidential, we do not require a Medicare number and you may use a “pseudonym” or make up name. Please remember the information you have given us.  We also ask that we have at least two ways of contacting you in case we need to talk to you about your test results and that your contact details are up to date. 


Definition: The provision of sexual services by one person to, or for, another (whether or not of a different sex) in return for payment or reward.


In Victoria there are three main definitions of sexual services:

Having sexual penetration with another person. Oral, anal and vaginal sex are all forms of sexual penetration whether you perform this or have it performed on you.
Masturbating someone; the genitals can be clothed and the person does not have to cum, this is still considered to be masturbation.
Allowing someone to view or participate in acts of sexual penetration, masturbation or any form of physical contact which has sexual overtones.


Victorian law about sex work is governed by the Sex Work Act 1994. 

In Victoria sex work is legal if the Sex Work Act (1994) is adhered to, that is: to work you must be over 18 and the choice to be practicing sex work must be yours.  It is illegal for anyone to force you or bully you into practicing sex work.


To be legal, sex work must be carried out in brothels, through an escort agency or you can work as a private worker; BUT all of these options must comply with the Sex Work Act (1994) and have a current license. Licenses are issued by the Business Licensing Authority (BLA) and all license numbers must be preceded by the letters SWA.  

Licenses must be displayed near the front entrance of premises or carried by you if you are a private worker. Brothels are also regulated by local council and require a planning permit issued by the council.


The following forms of sex work are illegal: 

  • Street sex work
  • Working in unlicensed brothels
  • Working in a premises that do not have a planning permit from the local council
  • Working in escort agencies that are not licensed
  • Working privately without being registered with the BLA

In accordance with the Sex Work Act (1994) you need to be tested every three months for Chlamydia, Gonorrhoea, Syphilis and HIV. This will involve swab and blood testing. The clinician will also examine your genital area for the presence of herpes and warts.   Depending on your gender, the specimens we require can include a urine test and/or swabs from your throat, vagina, cervix and anus.  

On your first visit to MSHC we will also suggest a blood test to check whether you have had Hepatitis B, are a carrier of Hepatitis B, or been vaccinated with Hepatitis B. If it is appropriate we can vaccinate you for Hepatitis B. The vaccination consists of three doses given on the day you come in, one month and then six months later. This gives most people life long protection.
At each visit, once the examination and tests are done, your clinician will write you a certificate which states that you have attended for sexually transmitted infections (STI) screening and whether swabs and/or blood tests have been performed. If you have not received your results from your previous visit the clinician will also give you these results. 

Please take the opportunity to talk with your clinician about any sexual health issues that are concerning you. 


A brothel must provide you with free condoms and lubrication, clean showers and baths, a continuous supply of hot and cold water and clean linen in accordance with the Public Health and Wellbeing Act (2008).


As MSHC can be very busy we advise you to attend as early as possible for the session.  
Monday to Thursday 9am-12.30pm and 1.30pm-5pm. Friday 1.30pm-5pm.  

Try not to attend on the day you need your certificate as if the clinic is very busy you may not get seen.  Please allow two hours for your visit at MSHC.


Resourcing Health and Education in the Sex Industry (RhED) 
Phone: 1800 458752

Scarlet Alliance (the Australian Sex Workers Association) 

Sex Workers Outreach Project (SWOP) 

Legal Issues for Professionals in the Sex Industry (LIP) 

Sex Work Act (1994)

Public Health and Wellbeing Act (2008)

This fact sheet is designed to provide you with information on Sex workers. It is not intended to replace the need for a consultation with your doctor. All clients are strongly advised to check with their doctor about any specific questions or concerns they may have. Every effort has been taken to ensure that the information in this pamphlet is correct at the time of printing.
Last Updated January 2013