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Sexual Health Services in South Africa

Did you know? You should be able to access free sexual health services in South Africa.

It does not matter what your nationality is, or if you have a South African ID or not. Even if your documents have expired or you have no documents at all, you should be able to access certain sexual health and reproductive services in South Africa – for free.

You have sexual and reproductive health rights. Just by being in South Africa, you have these rights. It does not matter where you are from, or what documentation you have.

Sexual and reproductive health rights includes your right to:

For women, these rights also include the ability to:

As you can see, sexual and reproductive rights are very wide. There are other sexual and reproductive health rights, too. You can read more about your sexual and reproductive rights by reading this booklet created by Section 27.

The South African government run clinics and hospitals where you can access sexual health and reproductive services for free. There are also private (fee-paying) clinics, too.

To find the right clinic near you, you can use this data-free map, made by Bhekisisa. The map shows both government (free) clinics and private clinics, too. To use this map, turn your mobile data service on. Turn on your location. Click on the link and you should see a map of your area. You should see little red, green and blue pins. When you select a pin, you can see the facility’s name, and by clicking the arrow in the right-hand corner, you can see more details about that facility, like the services they offer, the address, their opening times and whether they are free or not.

You can go to a clinic or hospital offering sexual and reproductive services  to:

Everyone is entitled to free primary health care services in South Africa. Pregnant and lactating women - those who are currently breast feeding - and children under 6 year old are entitled to free hospital care. People wanting a termination of pregnancy (abortion) are entitled to receive that for free.

At a government hospital, if you’re not pregnant or a child under 6, if you have an SA ID or are a refugee, asylum seeker or undocumented person from a country in Southern Africa (SADC), you’re entitled to be treated the same as a South African citizen at the hospital. This means that the treatment will be “means tested” (the fee depends on your circumstances).

All this is in terms of the Constitution, the National Health Act and the Uniform Patient Fee Schedule.

We know that, in reality, it can be difficult to access government healthcare. Both South Africans and ‘foreigners’ can have difficulty accessing healthcare in South Africa. Sometimes it is because the clinic or hospital is under-resourced or very busy. But sometimes, people are denied healthcare because they are not South African. This is called ‘medical xenophobia’. You can look at the question “It is difficult for me to access sexual and reproductive services. What can I do?” below, for more information.

Yes. Aside from government clinics and hospitals, there are some organisations that can help access sexual health services, or assist with people affected by sexual violence. Remember, you can find out more about clinics near you with this data-free map.

Marie Stopes

Marie Stopes is a non-profit organisation offering contraceptives, STI and HIV testing, safe terminations of pregnancy (abortion) and other gynaecological services. They have 13 centres across South Africa. Some services carry a fee, but Marie Stopes is able to create a payment plan with you. To contact them, you can:

If you have experienced sexual violence, there are organisations and government services that are here to support and help you. Rape Crisis and Thuthuzela Care Centres are two examples.

Rape Crisis

Rape Crisis offers support to people who have experienced or been affected by sexual violence. Rape Crisis have also published a useful guide to knowing your rights and services if you have experienced sexual violence. To contact them, you can:

Thuthuzela Care Centres

Thuthuzela Care Centres are one-stop facilities that have been introduced as a critical part of South Africa’s anti-rape strategy by the South African government. They aim to reduce secondary victimisation and to build a case ready for successful prosecution. There are 51 centres across South Africa. At these centres, you can report a rape case directly, get assistance with immediate medical attention, access counselling services and access assistance to open a police case (if you want to do so immediately or even at a later stage). The Thuthuzela Care Centres can also arrange for on-going counselling and court preparation (if the case goes on trial). To find out more, you can:

Abortions (or, terminations of pregnancy) are legal for anyone living in South Africa up to 12 weeks of pregnancy.

This is done at certain government clinics or hospitals: it is free. It does not matter what documentation you have. Doctors can provide an abortion up to 20 weeks of pregnancy, and after that there need to be certain circumstances in which an abortion can take place. You can find out more at a government clinic near you about this – use Bhekisisa’s data-free map to find the right clinic near to you. (This map includes private clinics as well as government clinics.)

Many women in South Africa do not know that they can access free abortion services at government clinics. Some women use “backstreet abortion” services. These are not safe because they are not done by people who are qualified. If you are considering having an abortion, please go to a clinic near you for advice.


Find out more about abortion services near you on this page by Bheksisia.

Some people can talk to friends or family members about relationship problems. Other people might talk to someone from their church, mosque or religious institution. Others prefer to seek help from counsellors.

Family and Marriage Society of South Africa (FAMSA)

If you would like to access counselling, you can contact FAMSA. FAMSA is a non-profitable organisation with 28 branches across South Africa. FAMSA offers counselling with a trained counsellor, creating a safe, confidential and non-judgmental space where you will be heard. FAMSA offers counselling and other services on bereavement, divorce, domestic violence, marital preparation and relationship enrichment, relationships and trauma debriefing. FAMSA do charge a fee for this service and it differs according to Affiliates fee structure. Please call to book an appointment and the fee structure  will be explained to you. To find a FAMSA office near you, please contact:

If you have been denied access to sexual and reproductive healthcare at a government clinic or hospital, it is important to understand why you have been denied that access. If you feel that it is unfair, you can ask to speak to a managerial member of the healthcare team.

You can also ask to lodge a complaint at the facility’s complaint desk. If these options are not possible, or you do not feel comfortable to do this, you can reach out to one of the organisations that are listed at Question 9, below. They can assist you with more information and support.

Some people can talk to friends or family members about relationship problems. Other people might talk to someone from their church, mosque or religious institution. Others prefer to seek help from counsellors.

Lawyers for Human Rights

Lawyers for Human Rights provides legal services through its law clinics and advice offices, located in Johannesburg, Pretoria, Musina, and Durban.  To contact LHR for advice, you can email info@lhr.org.za. Or, you can call one of the following offices during office hours to make an appointment.


Kutlwanong Democracy Centre
357 Visagie Street
Tel: 012 320 2943


4th Floor Southpoint Corner Building
87 De Korte Street


18 Watson Avenue


Room S104, Diakonia Centre
20th Diakonia Avenue (formerly St. Andrews Street)

Section 27

SECTION27 is a public interest law centre. One of its areas of focus is sexual and reproductive health rights. To contact their probono legal advice desk, you can call 060 754 0751 to get assistance with accessing sexual reproductive health services and general health access. This telephone advice line and can be called from anywhere in South Africa.

Refugee Social Services

Refugee Social Services is an NGO providing services primarily for refugees and asylum seekers in the Kwa-Zulu Natal Province. This includes emergency social assistance, counselling, and assistance with accessing services, among others.

To contact Refugee Social Services, you can

The Scalabrini Centre of Cape Town

The Scalabrini Centre of Cape Town offers a variety of services for people who are refugees, migrants and asylum seekers. You can see their different services here. In terms of paralegal assistance, the Advocacy Team provides paralegal information. It operates on WhatsApp and a walk-in clinic.

To contact them for information or advice, please:

This webpage is about accessing sexual and reproductive healthcare. There are lots of other types of healthcare - like emergency healthcare or specialised chronic healthcare. Access to different types of healthcare, and the costs of this at government hospitals and clinics, really depends on the type of healthcare and the type of document you have.

This easy-read infographic can help to explain more about this.

Stories about accessing Sexual Health Services in South Africa

Read Sister Mhaka’s Story

Read Abey’s Story

Read Badr Afaf’s Story