Eastern Health has partnered with community agencies to offer free walk-in, and by-appointment sexual health clinics at a variety of locations throughout the Eastern Health region, including MUN and CNA campuses, Planned Parenthood, Mt. Pearl Square, and more. Click here for a full list.

The clinics will offer sexually transmitted infection (STI) testing from March 20 – 31, 2017. The idea is to normalize and bring awareness to the importance of regular sexual health screening. The clinics are free and confidential.

Judy O’Keefe is Eastern Health’s Vice President responsible for Public Health. She says this initiative, in addition to taking steps towards normalizing STI testing, will also “build testing capacity throughout the region.”

A surprising percentage of the public believe sexually transmitted infections occur from unprotected vaginal or anal sex only, not realizing plenty spread through oral as well. Also, many STIs show no obvious signs or symptoms and therefore go unnoticed and untreated.

If left untreated, STIs can lead to serious long-term health problems such as infertility, various forms of cancers, and even death.

“Multiple barriers to STI testing exist in our province, such as a lack of comfort asking healthcare providers for testing, and a lack of testing sites within geographic areas,” said Mallary McGrath, Executive Director of Planned Parenthood – NL Sexual Health Centre.

“In our continued collaboration with Eastern Health we are pleased to join with other community partners to increase access to STI testing by offering testing at multiple community sites.”