Officials said on Friday that a small number of city-run sexual health clinics that temporarily redirected their focus to rapid COVID-19 testing and vaccination during the pandemic are once again providing sexual health services.
According to a press release issued by the agency, three of the eight sexual health clinics run by the New York City Department of Mental Health and Hygiene (the Chelsea Express, Fort Greene Express, and Corona clinics) are now providing sexual health services. These clinics are located in Chelsea, Fort Greene, and Corona.
The statement says that the “Quickie Lab” at the Chelsea Express clinic is “repurposing” devices that were once used for quick COVID-19 testing so that they can be used for quick chlamydia and gonorrhea testing instead.
In addition, according to the press release, by the end of this month, the Corona clinic will become the first of the health department’s clinics to provide long-term HIV PrEP therapy.
“Currently, our sexual health clinics offer PrEP initiation, with referrals to other health care providers for ongoing care,” the department said. “Our Corona clinic will now offer ongoing PrEP services to patients, including routine periodic testing and monthly prescriptions.”
According to the statement, the health department’s facilities in Fort Greene, Jamaica, Chelsea, and Morrisania will begin giving immunizations against MPV, commonly known as monkeypox, on November 14.
According to the government, gonorrhea, syphilis, and chlamydia are “common and treatable” infections, but “if left untreated, they may have permanent health consequences,” such as infertility and severe pelvic pain.
The Department of Health and Human Services said that syphilis “may cause vision and hearing loss, dementia, and paralysis, and it can be transferred from a pregnant person to their baby (congenital syphilis).”
“Having an STI can also make it easier to get or transmit HIV. Most STIs have no signs or symptoms early on, so it is important to get tested routinely, or if indicated, and treated promptly,” the release said. “Using condoms during sex can help prevent STIs, and PrEP is a safe and effective medicine to prevent HIV.”
The health department highlighted that its clinics would give “low- to no-cost treatments” to patients aged 12 and above, including those who do not have health insurance, regardless of the immigration status of the patients.
“Emerging from the worst of COVID-19, this role in our healthcare and public health systems has never been more important,” the city’s health commissioner, Dr. Ashwin Vasan, said in a statement. “Investments during COVID will support this critical piece of our routine public health infrastructure, and we’re thrilled to bring these services back and better than ever.”