Sexual Health and Wellness Clinics to Open in L.A. County Schools
Los Angeles County departments of public health and mental health and Planned Parenthood have partnered to provide health clinics inside 50 Los Angeles County high schools. The clinics are part of a sexual health and wellness initiative for underserved teenagers.
This initiative will be rolled out as of next year and will cost $12 million in its first year. The department of public health will contribute $10 million and is committed to keeping the centers open for the next five years.
According to president and chief executive of Planned Parenthood Los Angeles Sue Dunlap, the organization is donating $5 million over for the next five years and is looking to operate all of the centers.
All clinics will be staffed with health educators who have Master’s degrees in Public Health and will be open about 20 hours a week. The center’s locations have been prioritized in communities with high rates of poverty, with a goal of seeing a decrease in positive sexually transmitted infection tests and a reduction in absenteeism.
A 2015-2017 California Healthy Kids Survey found 9% of high school freshman and 14% of 11th graders said they were absent because they “felt very sad, hopeless, anxious, stressed or angry.”
A 2017 CDC survey found one in five L.A. County high school students used alcohol or cannabis in the last month, while STIs have been increasing among young people in California since 2013. Those between ages 15-24 represent half of gonorrhea cases and a third of chlamydia cases in the state.
The clinics will provide birth control, condoms, STI tests and treatments, emergency contraception and pregnancy tests.
The Realist Woman’s take:
This is everything. There is a real need for teens to have a safe space to go to and there is not a better place to have such a center than at school. Under California law, kids older than 12 years of age can access services at clinics without parental consent and that’s important because for one, access to sexual healthcare isn’t always easy, parents may not approve of their kids receiving sexual healthcare, and kids may not feel comfortable going to their parents about matters they deem too personal.
The partnership between Planned Parenthood and L.A. County schools will have immense benefits to underserved communities and kids will be able to have a safe place to go to have their personal issues addressed and taken care of. This is awesome.