Q: Where can my 17-year-old sister go for confidential sex health help and STI testing other than her regular clinic?

A: One way youth can access non-judgmental, confidential and free sex health help is through the three Youth Sex Health Clinics here on the Coast. Clinics are for youth ages 12 to 24, and they are a safe space for youth across genders and sexual orientations to bring sexual health questions or concerns, as well as general health concerns. There are clinics in Madeira Park, Sechelt and Gibsons, and at the moment they are open one day per week at each location with hours specific to each location.

Clinics offer a wide variety of important services including: Free condoms; birth control (free if you’re up to age 21 or low cost if you’re between 22 and 24 years old); free plan B/emergency contraception; HIV and STI (sexually transmitted infections) testing and treatment; IUD/ IUS consultation and insertion; pregnancy testing and options for counselling; immunizations; support around mental health; support around sexual assault; gender affirming care; specialist referrals if need be; and support with many other health-related issues, questions or concerns.

To book, you just call the number for the location you would like to go to, and they will book an appointment for you during the youth clinic’s hours. (If you don’t have an appointment, you can show up during the time it runs, just no guarantee you will be able to be seen that day.)

Locations and times are:

Gibsons Health Unit (821 Gibsons Way), Mondays 3 to 5:30 p.m. Book by calling 604-984-5070;
Pender Harbour Health Centre (5066 Francis Peninsula Road), Tuesdays 3 to 5 p.m. Book by calling 604-883-2764;
Sechelt Health Unit (5571 Inlet Avenue), Wednesdays 3 to 5 p.m. Book by calling 604-314-8253.

And a sneaky shout-out to the Youth Outreach Team!

With this bit of extra space at the end of my column, it’s worth doing a shout out to the youth outreach team. They’re around to connect with youth up and down the Coast. So whether you’re a youth looking to talk with someone who will listen, or you want to know more about youth events and spaces (like the gender diverse network), follow/DM the Youth Outreach team on Instagram: @scyouthoutreach, text/call 604-865-0178 or email youth@sccss.ca. You can leave a confidential message 24/7. Note: Youth workers answer messages Monday to Friday between 9 a.m. and 7 p.m.

Do you have a question you want answered? Get in touch!

Angie Theilmann is an information and referral specialist at the Sunshine Coast Resource Centre, your community information hub. The Resource Centre is open Monday to Thursday 10 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Appointments are recommended to be sure we are available to help you. Contact us: help@resourcecentre.ca or 604-885-4088.