Sexual and Reproductive Health clinics in and around Calgary are working to help more patients.
The clinics offer confidential and youth-friendly services, ranging from STI testing to emergency contraception on a drop-in or appointment basis.
Alberta Health Services recently raised the age limit for patients from 24 to 29 years old, citing the high rate of sexually transmitted diseases in the province as major factor for the change.
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"There was a large percentage of cases in that 25- to 29-year-old age group, so that is a focus of the service provided by the clinic, to do STI testing and treatment," said Dr. Judy MacDonald, medical officer of health for Calgary.
"We've got a lot of people in that age group that maybe weren't seeking access to services elsewhere."
MacDonald says the clinics also help patients of all ages who have no Alberta health care, can't afford birth control or need a translator.
Dr. Rabiya Jalil, a physician with the Calgary Sexual and Reproductive Health clinics, says expanding the age range was necessary so they can be more inclusive to women who may be experiencing barriers to contraception.
"And I think expanding the age range will also allow more patients access to that STI testing in a safe, comfortable environment, on their terms, in terms of time and location," she said.
There are four Sexual and Reproductive Health Clinics in the city:
- Sheldon Chumir Health Centre (1213 4 St. S.W.).
- South Calgary Health Plaza (31 Sunpark Plaza S.E.).
- Sunridge Professional Building (2675 36 St. N.E.).
- East Calgary Health Centre (4715 8 Ave. S.E.).
Clinics are also available in High River and Okotoks.