GALION — A new sexual health clinic is coming to central Ohio, providing discreet sexual health care to all who seek it.
“We are excited to add the Sexual Health Clinic services to the Galion City Health Department and expand our ability to offer STI and HIV screenings and treatment in a convenient, nonjudgmental, and confidential environment,” Galion City Health Commissioner Trish Factor said.
15-to-24 year olds account for half of all new sexually transmitted infections (STI), according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)..
Access to private sexual health care should be available to everyone, especially for teenagers and young adults who more commonly contract STDs/STIs, and North Central Ohio is making this a possibility by birthing the Galion Sexual Health Clinic.
“With cultural changes and the rise of mobile dating apps helping to fuel the rise of sexually transmitted diseases, especially among young adults, we want people to make STI screenings a key part of their plans for healthy living,” Factor said.
According to the CDC, young people are more susceptible to STIs for multiple reasons: some young people have more than one sex partner, many are not encouraged to do routine STI testing and many are hesitant to talk openly about their sexual health concerns.
“We’ve created a safe zone and sex-positive place for people to be able to talk about their experiences, receive the support and treatment they need,” Factor said.
The new clinic will serve patients in: Crawford, Marion, Wyandot, Seneca, Erie, Huron, Richland, Ashland and Knox counties. Factor also mentions that “all of this is [possible] because of the support of a grant through the Ohio Department of Health. With that grant we cover a 9-county region.”
The clinic will offer six main services to the public:
STD/STI Testing & Treatment
Condoms and safe sex education
EPT - Expedited Partner Therapy
PrEP (Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis)
“A lot of people don’t want to get tested and treated in the community that they live in. They want a little bit more anonymity. They want to be able to come over from Marion, or Mansfield, or down from Huron. We’ve had people come from Ashland, we’ve had people come from Sandusky,” Factor said.
PrEP can help prevent a person from getting HIV. PrEP is a once daily medication to prevent HIV. If taken correctly each day, along with safer lifestyle practices, the risk of contracting HIV is less than 1% in high risk individuals.
The clinic has already seen a need for their services as patients have walked in since July of 2019, simply from hearing about the clinic through word of mouth. But now, Factor says, “we have things set. We are ready to fill time slots with patients.”
Next Tuesday, February 18th, is the ribbon cutting for the new clinic (located at 113 Harding Way East, Galion). The doors will be open at 9 AM to any patients who wish to come in as well as those who have questions about the services provided.
The grand opening also coincides with National Condom Week which is February 14th through the 21st.
Factor also said about the February 18th official opening of the clinic, “I would like to thank the many advocates and community partners who have pushed us to make this the very best clinic it can be. We look forward to making a difference in the lives of those who live in, work in, or touch our communities in some way.”