Options for Sexual Heath clinic opens in Golden

Golden will join many other communities in the area when they celebrate the opening of the Options for Sexual Health clinic on December 2, 2009.

The Options for Sexual Health (OPT) clinic will sell only one thing: low cost contraception. All the other services of Golden’s OPT clinic will be free, confidential and non-judgmental.

According to a recent press release, from its location at the Public Health Unit the OPT clinic will be open twice monthly to everyone interested in enjoying safe and satisfying sexuality.

“Sexual expression is a core feature of our lives from beginning to end”, said OPT spokesperson Amy Sharples, Public Health Nurse, adding, “At OPT we support the personal values people hold about their sexuality with accurate information, expert care and the skills for making good decisions about relationships. Whether it’s a young person concerned about staying safe and healthy, parents wanting to know how to talk with their children, or mature adults who find themselves “back in circulation”, we can help.”

Sharples said that she and the working group supporting the OPT clinic, presented the idea to the Town back in July, 2009.

“We have been working towards this for at least a year now, but this was a long time vision in Golden.”

Sharples said that Interior Health has donated the space and the utilities and the rest of the costs will be funded through the Options For Sexual Health organization.

“Our working group has been hard at work going through the steps to get this up and running. The biggest hurdle was raising the start-up costs.”

Sharples said that the OPT clinic was able to secure the start-up funding through grants and donations from local organizations.

“We received grants from the Columbia Basin Trust and the Columbia Valley Credit Union and we also received a donation from the Town of Golden.”

Sharples said that the group also had to show evidence of community support and do a study of their demographic. She said that high school students and young adults will be the excepted users of the facility, but the OPT clinic also expects to see seasonal workers make use of the service, which will cost considerably less than a regular doctor’s visit.

As well, Sharples said that the clinic will sell low cost birth control.

“We don’t have every brand, but we do carry 12 of the most popular birth control methods including the pill, the Depo shot and the Nuva ring. We will also have free condoms and low-cost spermicidal products available.”

Sharples says the new clinic will offer an alternative for sexual health visits at a lower cost.

“We are the last clinic to get going within the surrounding communities,” she said, adding, “And we are very excited to be up and running.”

Sharples said that the OPT clinic will be primarily volunteer run and is always looking for more volunteer help.

“If anyone would like to volunteer to help out at the clinic they can apply online through the OPT website.”

Sharples said that it is important to emphasize to potential patients that OPT is a low cost, confidential clinic.

“There is always a nurse on duty and there will always be a handful of volunteers available. There will be a host of information available, so if people just want to come in to talk to someone, they can and it’s free.”

After the new year, Sharples said that she expects the OPT clinic will be able to offer pap smears and STD testing free of cost.

The organizers of Golden’s OPT clinic deeply appreciate the generous start-up funding provided by the CVCU and the CBT Community Initiatives Program.

“We have support and encouragement from all quarters” said Sharples, adding, “and we are looking forward to contributing to the sexual health and well being of this special community.”

Come out for the grand opening of Golden’s OPT clinic, located at the Public Health Unit, on December 2, from 6.30 p.m. to 8.30 p.m.