What is a sexual health clinic?

Sexual health clinics offer free, confidential counselling and medical services. They also run tests and provide treatment for Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs).
Most clinics offer these services:

  • Birth control counselling and prescriptions (sometimes sell them cheaper than pharmacies)
  • Info on STIs including STI testing and treatment
  • Pregnancy testing
  • Emergency birth control (morning-after pill)
  • Anonymous HIV/AIDS testing
  • Hepatitis A and B, and HPV vaccines
  • Needle exchange services (trade in used ones for new ones, free)
  • Hepatitis A and B vaccines

Everyone, no matter what gender, race, or sexual-orientation, can use these services and many clinics are wheelchair accessible. Depending on what clinic, you can make an appointment or check for walk-in hours.

NOTE: Check the website of the clinic first to see what their walk-in policy is and if you need to make an appointment. There can be long wait times at some clinics.

I’m not 18 yet, do I need permission from my parents to go to a clinic?

No, you don’t need permission to visit a clinic. Everything, including STI tests, remains confidential. See a list of sexual health clinics in your area for walk-in instructions or to book an appointment.

Does my family need to find out I visited a clinic?

Sexual health clinics are confidential. Staff are required (by law) not to tell anyone anything you don’t want them to know. That also means, not telling your family or people you know any information about you, even if they know them personally. However, if they think you are being abused and you are under the age of 16, they might have to tell someone.

I’m too embarrassed to be examined by a doctor!

It’s natural and OK to feel that. Sexual health clinic doctors and nurses are non-judgmental and inclusive. This means, no matter what their personal beliefs are, they are trained to be open to your concerns. Lots of clinics will also let you choose the gender of the doctor you will meet. You can tell them if this is your first time at a clinic or if you are nervous about the appointment.

Remember that no question is “too weird” to ask. Most staff have heard it all before, so you’re not the first one to ask about pregnancy or an STI. If you don’t feel comfortable talking to a particular nurse or doctor request to see someone new.

Teaser: 

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