Care Point offers free testing, health care

Care Point Health and Wellness Center locates at 2200 S. Monroe Street. Photo Submitted by Devante Carroll

Finding convenient and quality health care is difficult but important. Having unprotected sex can put an end to your life. So why not look out for yourself in order to live a long and protected life? That’s why we all should get our sexual health check-up at least once a year, even if intercourse hasn’t take place.

The Care Point Health and Wellness Center, located on South Monroe Street, offers free services whether you’re HIV positive or not, insured or not. Services are also offered to anyone who would like to get tested for other infectious diseases, primary care, pharmacy, lab and X-ray radiology as well as dental and mental health.

Care Point serves eight Big Bend counties: Franklin, Gadsden, Jefferson, Leon, Liberty, Madison, Taylor and Wakulla.

There are nearly 2,000 people in the Big Bend area who are living with HIV or AIDS and in most cases it could’ve been prevented had protection been used.

Camye Edwards, the director of prevention and outreach services, said it is vital for college students to know their sexual health status.

“Young people have to know who they are getting involved with. Ask the individual the last time they got tested, have they ever been tested before? If you do these things up front without sugarcoating the situation, then you will save yourself pain in the long run,” Edwards said.

To start early, parents should get involved with their teenagers on the conversation of sex, she added. Educate them and keep them fully aware of the potential diseases they could catch if not protected.

Edwards said there are three issues why the parents won’t get involved when the topic is intercourse.

“A matter of feeling uncomfortable, lack of knowledge or maybe the parent themselves has been sexually abused,” Edwards said.

According to Edwards and her 20 years of experience in the Big Bend, the younger generation is afraid of letting their parents down. So if they attract HIV, AIDS or an STD, they most likely won’t tell their parents.

In the state of Florida starting at age 13, you can get tested and get back the results without parent consent.

There are a few ways to get tested once committing: the mouth swab, which requires no blood and is the swabbing of your upper and lower gums to detect antibodies; the rapid test, which is the finger prick requiring blood. Lastly, and the most common, the confirmatory test, or a sequence of tests to detect positive or negative results.

If people want to simply walk into Care Point with no appointment to obtain condoms, they’re more than welcome to leave with a bag full free of charge.