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Health Kicks Off Pilot Teen Clinic

Teens in the U.S. Virgin Islands will soon have the convenience of seeing a doctor on Saturday, thanks to a pilot program to make health care services more accessible.

The program will be offered through December by the Department of Health’s Family Planning Division.

The program, dubbed Teen Clinic, will kick off in the St. Thomas-St.John district beginning Saturday and continue biweekly through December. The Teen Clinic will be by appointment only at the Family Planning office at Elaine Co. Building, across from Nisky Center. Teens or their parents can call 774-5256 or 777-8804, Ext. 2602 or 2625 weekdays, for appointments.

“We are thrilled to offer Saturday clinics for teens in that once the school year begins, they won’t have to miss classes to seek health care services,” Health Commissioner Julia Sheen said. “This is also a convenience for parents who may be unable to take time off during the week to accompany their children.”

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Sheen urged teens – both male and female – to take advantage of services being offered.

The clinic is part of the Department’s federal mandate and an initiative by Governor John de Jongh Jr. to make health care services available and accessible to all, Sheen said.

An earlier outreach, dubbed “Summer Splash 2010,” was rained out on June 19, and has been rescheduled to July 17 at Oswald Harris Court Community Center. Free health screenings will be offered from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. in collaboration with HOPE Inc. and the Department’s Immunization and STD/TB/HIV. Services will include:

• Gynecological exams.

• STD/HIV/Testing and counseling.

• Pregnancy testing and counseling.

• Family Planning counseling to include prescription of birth control methods.

• Immunizations, including Gardisil and tetanus.

“The Family Planning Program is conducting these outreach activities with the goal to educate residents, especially teens, about the various services that we offer and that they can take advantage of,” Sheen said.

Mercedes Reyes, Territorial Administrator for Family Planning, said the program hopes to increase teen participation in and comfort with the program’s clinic services for both teens and their parents.

“We also want to increase the community awareness on reproductive health services and STD/HIV prevention as well as decrease unplanned pregnancy and STD/HIV rate among teens,” Reyes said.

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