COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) – Columbus Public Health is expanding sexual health resources as STD rates are on the rise in Ohio.
A new sexual health and wellness clinic opened within Columbus Public Health at 240 Parsons Ave. to offer additional services to the Central Ohio community. CPH Commissioner Dr. Mysheika Roberts said the clinic’s aim is to provide affordable, affordable and personalized care.
“Here in our community, we have very high rates of sexually transmitted infections, especially syphilis, and anyone can get syphilis, regardless of their sexual orientation and whether they’re having sex or oral sex,” Roberts said. . “We want to teach people how they can have sex safely so they can avoid getting infections.”
Cases of gonorrhea and syphilis in Ohio rose 82 percent between 2016 and 2021 to more than 2,900 cases, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. In and around Franklin County, cases of syphilis more than doubled, from 613 in 2019 to 1,447 in 2021.
To combat these rising rates, the clinic offers comprehensive sexual health services, including STI testing and treatment, HIV prevention medications, and reproductive health counseling. In addition, preconception and pregnancy tests, diabetes and cholesterol screenings, emergency contraception, and smoking cessation services are available.
About 80 percent of syphilis cases in Ohio occur among men, with national data showing the disease is more prevalent among men who have sex with men. Roberts said CPH staff are trained to accept patients of all sexual orientations.
“We wanted to make sure we were available to everyone, from all walks of life and all different sexual orientations,” Roberts said. “No matter how you identify, we want to make sure you get the right care you need.”
CPH also encourages teenagers and young adults to take advantage of the clinic. According to data from the CDC, about 55 percent of adolescent boys and girls have had sex before the age of 18. Roberts said the clinic has made its services accessible by offering evening hours for patients at the school.
“Today’s young people are curious and they’re exploring and we want them to be safe,” Roberts said. “We can see people of all ages, so you don’t necessarily have to have your parents with you if you want to come in and talk to us about your sexual health.”
Roberts said the clinic accepts walk-ins and appointments and does not turn away any patients for inability to pay. Patients can come to the clinic for a thorough check-up or request specific tests, such as a diabetes screening or a family planning service.
The clinic is open from 8:00 to 15:30 on Mondays, 10:00 to 18:15 on Tuesdays, 8:00 to 12:00 on Wednesdays and 8:00 to 16:15 on Thursdays and Fridays . Medicaid, Medicare, CareSource, UnitedHealthcare, Molina Healthcare, and Anthem insurance cards are accepted, along with cash, Visa, MasterCard, and Discover.
Learn more here or make an appointment by calling 614-645-7774.
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