The Grey Bruce Health Unit has reopened the Owen Sound Sexual Health Clinic after it was forced to close early in the COVID-19 pandemic due to staff redeployment.
The clinic had a soft opening in the middle of last month, with the first full-day clinic on July 20. They will now run Wednesdays from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the health unit office at 101 17th St. E.
Clinics are open to everyone, but focuses on those who are unable to access sexual health services through their primary care provider, the health unit said in a release.
And there are discussions to expand the clinic, with a slow and steady approach planned to bring it to other communities this summer, sexual health program manager Gillian Jordan said in the release.
“We are starting small after two years of closure with our OS clinic to allow us to get back in the groove, but we’re looking closely at where and when we may be able to expand to other community locations as we know there is a need,” Jordan said. For now, other sexual health services can be accessed through primary care providers if people have a physician – in a pinch, there are virtual care options like GBHS’s virtual care option.”
Information on potential expansion locations will be advertised when they are established. Anyone with an urgent health matter should continue to seek care at their closest hospital emergency department, the release said.
Among the services at the sexual health clinics are testing and treatment for sexually transmitted infections, low-cost birth control, free condoms, pregnancy testing and counseling, and education on safer sex practices.
Routine testing for STIs for those who are sexually active is one of the most important things one can do to protect their health as well as the health of their partners, the release said.
The clinics provide access to care, support and services that are sometimes hard to access, especially for those in remote and rural communities or without a primary care provider, the release said.
“Having a dedicated clinic for sexual health needs provides easier access to testing and treatment in a safe, confidential and judgment-free space,” Jordan said. “Sexual health goes beyond just STI prevention, testing and treatment – it also includes things like counseling and education on safe sex practices, healthy relationships and family planning options, as well as easy access to birth control and emergency contraception.”
Appointments are required at the clinic by calling 519-376-9420, ext. 1256.