It’s an electronic social network you’d rather not be a part of. There’s an app that will anonymously message you to say one of your past sexual partners has been exposed to a sexually-transmitted infection (STI), and potentially you too.
“It’s the card you don’t want to get,” jokes Vivian Mitchell, the Revelstoke Options for Sexual Health Clinic president.
New technology aside, young Revelstoke residents still need reliable sexual health services.
Mitchell and three workers at the free, Wednesday evening clinic gathered to speak about what they do. They wanted to deliver the message that they changed their name in late 2012, but are offering the same free, confidential sexual health services, such as counselling, contraceptives, STI testing and treatment, PAP testing and pregnancy testing.
They were previously known as the S.A.F.E.R. Clinic, but are now under a new provincial umbrella organization.
“There’s an obvious need for it in town and we’re fulfilling that,” Mitchell said. “[Some] young people do not feel comfortable going to a clinic or a family doctor … and it’s a small town.”
Clinic supervisor Jennifer Schott said they see a wide range of clients at the youth-focused clinic; counselling is the number one service accessed.
“We’re very open, non-judgemental and non-biased,” Schott said. “We’re not just serving regular clients; we’re serving new ones too.”
In summer, they get 6–8 clients per weekly clinic. During the winter season, that jumps to 20. The service is popular with visitors who may not have their Canadian medical papers in order.
It’s also an economical service because they don’t charge dispensing fees. Typically, it’s staffed by two nurses, one physician, an administrator and a couple of volunteers.
Mitchell acknowledged the many funding groups and partners who support the clinic.
The OPT Options for Sexual Health Clinic is located in the Community Connections building at 314 East Second Street. They’re open Wednesdays from 7–9 p.m. Drop-ins welcome. Access them online through optionsforsexualhealth.org