Students with no income or insurance can now avoid being discouraged from obtaining medical services such as birth control.
Health care and birth control for women and men are available to all students on a sliding scale fee at the Leon County Health Department. The fee is based on the student’s income.
“We need to plan our lives not for the moment, but for the rest of our lives,” said Yolanda Miller, senior human services program manager.
The steps students can take in preventing unwanted pregnancies start with obtaining an appointment with the department. The various types of birth control offered by the clinic are Depo Provera, birth control pills, diaphragms, spermicides and condoms. In addition, sexually transmitted disease testing and treatment is provided.
Professionals said students should take advantage of the services provided because it can enhance their lives.
Sex might provide momentary pleasure, but an unwanted pregnancy or sexually transmitted disease can last a lifetime.
Every time you change a partner, you should get yourself tested again, Miller said.
According to Miller, everything you are working for in school will not matter if you contract a life threatening disease.
“Are you willing to die for sex?” Miller asked.
“Do not be afraid to ask your partner to get tested before having sexual relations with a partner. Because your life is worth a lot more,” she said.
According to the American Social Health Association, two-thirds of all STDs occur in people 25 years of age or younger. At least one in four Americans will contract an STD at some point in their lives. Each year, there are approximately 15 million new cases of STDs, a few of which are curable.
Additionally, yearly exams that help detect early cervical cancer are also available at the Leon County Health Department.
“It’s good to have a place to get annual exams without the worry of how much it will cost me,” said Jinessa Newton, an 18-year-old nursing student from Fort Lauderdale.
For first-time clients at the Leon County Health Department, the clinic performs a Pap smear, HIV test and breast exam.
According to officials at the health department, the physician will make sure that clients are comfortable and are knowledgeable of the process before procedures such as Pap smears are administered. A nurse is also available with the physician throughout the duration of such procedures.
“Sometimes you may have to wait. But in the long run it is worth it,” said Rosa Williams, Leon County Health Department interviewing clerk.
Officials at the health department said they will not turn down any client for any services obtained at the clinic.
Students can take advantage of the services that the clinic has to offer.
The services are convenient to students on campus who do not have transportation. A bus stop is located directly in front of the Leon County Health Department on Old Bainbridge Road and students can take two buses on route 6 and 13 to get there.
The other health department that offers the same services is located on Appleyard Drive.
“I think the service is very nice for students to go get birth control and tested,” Newton said. “It’s encouraging because I don’t have to die for sex.”
At the end of the service, clients will leave out with a brown paper bag filled with a three-month supply of birth control pills, condoms and spermicides. In addition, the clinic refills the package of pills when needed.
“If you call to say you need more pills tomorrow, the clinic will have them ready for you; but they would prefer a little more time,” said Ken Korn, a physician for the Leon County Health Department.
For more information on STDs, visit http://www.myflorida.com.
Contact Alayia Futcher at firstname.lastname@example.org.