Clinic provides vital service

Closure of the Penticton Sexual Health Clinic will cause difficulties for many young people

Recent headlines indicated a planned closure of the Penticton Sexual Health Clinic which does STI testing. The article indicated that most of the testing is done through family doctors or the walk-in clinic, and it was suggested that loss of service to Penticton and the South Okanagan would be minimal.

This is not the whole story. Firstly, the clinic had approximately 800 visits in the last year and the majority of the women were between the ages of 15 to 19. Many of these young people do not have a family doctor or are not comfortable in attending the walk-in clinic for sexual health. Clients who are bisexual/ gay or transgender may be very reluctant to go to a walk-in clinic or to discuss their sexuality with the family doctor (if they have one) who has treated them from childhood. There is a need for emotionally safe professional service that can provide both the STI testing as well as education and counselling. The Penticton Sexual Health Clinic provides this service.

The nurses who staff the Penticton clinic have all been certified in sexual health by the B.C. College of Registered Nurses. This is their area of expertise and they provide unconditional acceptance and understanding for a wide range of sexual issues. The extended appointment time (45 minutes) allows them a greater opportunity to provide education on sexual health as well as addressing concerns the client may have. Many of the young clients are just beginning to be sexually active in the community and the education they receive will help them make informed choices about their sexual health.

Other regions in Interior Health have outreach clinics that can provide the type of service that is currently offered by Penticton Sexual Health Clinic. There is no outreach clinic in Penticton or the South Okanagan. The Penticton and Area Women’s Centre is concerned that the clients who currently use the clinic will have no emotionally safe place to go where they can access sexual health services. As a result, they may make personal choices based on misinformation and a lack of understanding.

In summary, the clinic in Penticton offers valuable service to a group of vulnerable clients who are unlikely to be able to advocate for themselves. The Penticton and Area Women’s Centre would like to see Interior Health reconsider the decision to close the Sexual Health Clinic in Penticton or examine some alternatives that would give the clients an equivalent level of service.

Elmie Saaltink, board chair

 

Penticton and Area Women’s Centre

 

 

Just Posted

UPDATE: Penticton resident’s dog found safe

Nicholas Bozak thanks the public for finding his 17 month old mastiff chow

Survivorship Dragon Boat Team wins in Vernon

Team takes top spot in A division at festival

RDOS contributes funds to arts centre workshop

South Okanagan Performing Arts Centre Society wants input into proposed facility

Great horned owls returned to the wild in the South Okanagan

Great horned owls plucked by crows from their nest last April have been released back into the wild

Youth Wellness Gathering aims to empower, educate South Okanagan youth

The event is hosted by a non-profit located on the Penticton Indian Band (PIB) reserve July 22 & 23

July showers wash out half of the Okanagan’s cherry crop

Cherry growers say this is the worst season they’ve seen in decades

How much do you know about the moon?

To mark the 50th anniversary of the first lunar landing, see how well you know space

Body, burning truck found near northern B.C. town

RCMP unsure if the two separate discoveries are related

Okanagan woman to climb Mount Kilimanjaro for homeless youth

Victoria Schermel’s climb will raise funds for youth homelessness initiative, The Upstream Project.

Kelowna car thief’s sentencing delayed

Stanley Nickason pled guilty car theft charges in B.C. Supreme Court

Development gives Kelowna community garden the boot

Glen Valley residents given a few days to break it down before land development

Couple found dead along northern B.C. highway in double homicide

Woman from the U.S. and man from Australia found dead near Liard Hot Springs

World-famous sopranos to hold concert in Okanagan

Two Canadian sopranos are bringing their world-famous voices to the Okanagan for one night only

Kelowna RCMP release video of reckless theft out of Southwest Mission

“Their tactics were anything but subtle,” states Cpl. Jesse O’Donaghey

Most Read