Sexual health clinics offer testing, confidentiality
Let’s face it – most people don’t want to talk about sexually transmitted infections. But now the Prince Edward Island government is offering non-judgemental, confidential sexual health clinics each month, alternating between Summerside and Charlottetown. The clinics are open after hours and available without an appointment.
Staffed by a nurse practitioner, a registered nurse, and a receptionist, the walk-in clinics are open one Tuesday each month from 4 to 8 pm in either the Harbourside Health Centre (Summerside) or the Polyclinic (Charlottetown). They offer testing for sexually transmitted and blood-borne infections including: gonorrhea, chlamydia, HIV, syphilis, and Hepatitis C. Pap testing is also available.
“These clinics are safe environments for all genders, sexual orientations, and ages,” says coordinator Rachelle Pike. “We want to get people out and have people tested. We want people to look after themselves.”
And there is a need. Pike says sexually transmitted infections (STIs) are on the rise across Canada and Prince Edward Island is no exception. In Canada, reported rates of chlamydia, gonorrhea and infectious syphilis have increased significantly among middle-aged adults (40-59 years) over the past decade. There were 256 Islanders screened for STIs between April and June.
Testing is a critical part of the clinics’ services since some STIs have no symptoms. Screening takes between five to 10 minutes and results come back in less than two weeks.
“Sexual health, including testing, is an important part of a person’s overall health,” Health and Wellness Minister Robert Mitchell said. “In recent years, we have made tremendous progress in expanding access to sexual health programs and services to support the well-being of Islanders across the province. This new clinic is another option for individuals to access safe, confidential, and supportive care.”
No appointment is required, but patients are asked to bring their provincial health card.
“You can just show up,” Pike said. “We wanted to remove that barrier -- it’s a totally confidential service.”
The new monthly walk-in clinic expands on other sexual health services available. For more information or to access safe, confidential and supportive services, call 1-844-365-8258.