Accessing gender-affirming healthcare

Our health and counselling (Mauri Ora) teams can provide advice and support for gender-affirming healthcare.

Mauri Ora recognise you are the expert around your own gender identity journey and will work alongside you to establish your health goals, including goals you have around transitioning.

We can provide support, advice and access to other services as needed. These include hormone care, fertility advice, physiotherapy, surgery and mental health.

Our services are available to any student currently enrolled at VUW. Health and counselling services are free of charge if you are a domestic student, but there may be a charge if you are an international student.

General healthcare and prescriptions

If you are wanting general support and advice or have medical needs, please feel free to see your GP or nurse. This includes requests for ongoing prescriptions of hormone medications you are already taking.

Starting gender-affirming hormone therapy for the first time

If you are thinking about starting gender-affirming hormone therapy, you can book an initial appointment with either Dr Rona Carroll (she/her) or Dr Cathy Stephenson (she/her) - they will talk you through what happens from there.

The process may include:

  • exploring and getting support around the social aspects of gender identity (for example, transitioning) with an affirmative counsellor.
  • having a free “readiness for hormone” visit with a health professional (usually a psychologist) who specialises in gender-affirming healthcare.
  • There is no need to see an endocrinologist (hormone specialist), unless you would like to do so. The prescribing can all be done at Student Health. The time from your first appointment with Dr Rona Carroll or Dr Cathy Stephenson to your first prescription is variable. It may be at least 3 months or longer.

HIV PrEP consultations

PrEP stands for “pre-exposure prophylaxis” and is a medication which can be taken by HIV negative people to prevent HIV infection. It is fully funded for people who are at higher risk of acquiring HIV, but those who are lower risk can opt to pay for their prescriptions.

To find out more and to see if PrEP is right for you, have a look at this website.

HIV PrEP is available at Mauri Ora Student Health. If you would like to start PrEP, the first step is to book into a “PrEP nurse appointment” so that we can get things started and explain what it entails. Being on PrEP means having STI checks (including a blood test) every 3 months. After the nurse appointment you will be booked to see one of our GP’s who prescribes PrEP.

PrEP does not protect against any other STI’s and so condoms are still a great idea.

Transition related support

Our counsellors are skilled at providing gender-affirmative support. Anny da Silva Freitas (they/them/she/her) is a counsellor at Mauri Ora who has training, competence and knowledge particularly in supporting our Rainbow students who are requesting hormone care, counselling and other support around your gender identity including transition. We appreciate your patience as these appointments may take over a month to be seen.

  • Georgia Andrews (she/her), Rainbow and Inclusion Adviser, Student Academic Services, can connect students with appropriate services and works with our community to ensure the University is a safe and inclusive environment for students of all sexualities, genders and sex characteristics.
  • Gender Minorities Aotearoa has a wealth of information, support and resources and is based in Wellington.
  • Tranzform is a local Wellington support group for youth who identify as trans or gender diverse.
  • OUTLine a free and confidential phone line supporting rainbow people and offering face-to-face counselling.
  • RainbowYOUTH provides a number of services for queer and gender diverse youth and their wider communities all across Aotearoa.
  • The Physio Spot offers discounted prices for VUW students and community services card holders. You can also visit a GP at Mauri Ora and enquire about a referral to get these services fully funded.