GALION — Galion City Health Department’s sexual health clinic, which opened late last year, is geared at helping people in Galion and beyond. But recently it received some surprise attention in a national blog.
Sarah Miley, a certified nurse practitioner at the health department, said they were pleasantly surprised by the attention.
“We had applied for technical assistance through the NACCHO (National Association of County and City Health Officials), a large supportive organization for local and public health departments,” she said. “We applied for this assistance to evaluate our sexual health clinic against quality, clinical services designed by the CDC.”
The clinic is the first of its kind in this area. It provides STD/STI testing and treatment, condoms, HIV testing, HPV vaccinations and more. It also is open to anyone 13 and older.
“This is a judgment and stigma-free, sex-positive, safe zone,” Miley said. “We are working toward creating a reproductive health clinic in Galion that can serve men and women during a time of difficulty (COVID-19) and beyond. Sexual health does not wait. Comprehensive testing is painless and results are quick.”
An analyst came here to take a look at services provided in Galion, and that led to the posting on the NAACHO website.
“When we developed our clinic, we had no clinical services in place, so we had to design this clinic from the ground up,” Miley said. “We basically started from scratch. But we are doing really well. While the analyst was here, she asked us to write a blog post that (they) could highlight during STD Awareness Week.”
“We took that as a really big honor because we were able to get some press on what we are trying to do to serve this small region,” Miley said. “I was honored and excited to write this blog post because we’ve put a lot of heart into this.”
Despite the stress and work the health department is doing fighting and tracking patients associated to the COVID-19 pandemic, the clinic has continued its efforts to keep clients healthy and educated.
The blog post is on the the NACCHO website. And the CDC mentioned the Galion City Health Department and clinic on Twitter. Follow this link to the Miley’s post.
“Honestly, for us to keep offering this and keeping people in the area safe, we’re pretty excited,” she explained.
The clinic serves Crawford, Marion, Wyandot, Seneca, Erie, Huron, Richland, Ashland and Knox counties.
COVID-19 has resulted in a small drop-off of customers.
The clinic is open Tuesday and Friday, and they used to offer walk-in service, but during the pandemic clients are being asked to call and make an appointment at 419-468-1075.
Learn more about the clinic on the health department website.
“Interestingly, we are getting referrals from other sites,” Miley said. “People are not able to get in to clinics in the surrounding areas. Those sites are sending them here to us.”
For the most part, Miley said the sexual health clinic has had a warm welcome from the community. But there some concerns and questions locally from people about why the clinic was opened in Galion and what they were promoting.
“We don’t promote any unsafe sexual activity,” she said, adding that a goal is to give people more information on how to make sex more safe.
“When you talk about sex people can really get up in arms,,” Miley said. “But everybody is doing it. We want to make sure people are are having consensual and that they are doing it in a safe environment. We don’t want infectious diseases and we want to make sure people are safe and that they aren’t being coerced. I think there was a little bit of community concern, but we are here to keep your community and the outlying community safe.”