Sex is better in Philadelphia. Or at least it can be. That’s because Philadelphians have access to a wellspring of information and medical services that promote good sexual health.
During Sexual Health Awareness Month in September, the Health Department is encouraging Philadelphian’s to take advantage of sexual health services at five sexual wellness centers across the city. Here, people can receive preventive services for HIV and other sexually transmitted infections, or STIs, regardless of insurance status.
Philadelphia’s Low-Threshold Sexual Health Centers integrate access to critical HIV prevention and sexual wellness services, including HIV and STI testing, PrEP, nPEP, pregnancy screening, and HCV testing. Sexual Health Centers utilize screening as the entry point to other services for disease prevention and treatment.
Prevention and treatment
These sexual wellness clinics are staffed with trained medical personnel and patient navigators who work with clients to determine which prevention methods are right for them. They also help clients overcome obstacles to care. The clinics provide pre-exposure prophylaxis, or PrEP, for people with ongoing risk for HIV, and post-exposure prophylaxis, or PEP, for those who have been exposed to HIV within the past 72 hours.
For people who test positive for HIV or STIs, Sexual Health Center staff will link clients to care so that they can quickly begin treatment. Walk-in availability and extended hours are offered at each location to limit barriers to care (hours differ by agency). The Low-Threshold Sexual Health Centers are part of the City’s efforts to make sexual wellness accessible to all Philadelphians, especially those who are at higher risk of acquiring HIV and other STIs.
Each of the five sexual wellness centers provide culturally informed services for unique priority populations that are disproportionately impacted by HIV. Many of the agencies have a rich history of working with their designated priority populations and are widely trusted in their communities as safe and welcoming places to go to for sexual healthcare. Though each agency has a unique priority population, anyone in Philadelphia is welcomed and encouraged to utilize the services they provide.
Removing barriers to wellness
Low-Threshold Sexual Health Centers are important because they provide a culturally competent, one-stop shop for Philadelphians’ sexual wellness needs. The clinics meet people where they are and tailor services to fit each client’s needs. Clinic staff attempt to remove as many barriers as possible for clients, not only through expanding service availability, but also through assisting clients with things like insurance applications or transportation to appointments. Some agencies provide additional services outside of sexual health, including primary care and food pantries. For services not provided on site, clinic staff are prepared to provide clients with referrals to outside agencies as needed.
Philadelphia’s sexual wellness centers, and their priority populations, are:
1930 S. Broad St., 2nd Floor, Philadelphia, PA 19145
Priority population: All Philadelphians
Health Center 5 (Coming soon!)
Priority Population: All Philadelphians
1235 Spring Garden St., Philadelphia, PA 19123
Priority population: Black and African American Philadelphians
216 W. Somerset St., Philadelphia, PA 19133
Priority population: Latinx Philadelphians
3751 Island Ave., Philadelphia, PA 19153
Priority population: Southwest Philadelphia residents
1201 Locust St., Philadelphia, PA 19107
Priority population: Gay men, bisexual men, and other men who have sex with men, and transgender women
Sexual health is part of overall health. Take advantage of these Sexual Health Center services and enhance your quality of life – and your sex life. Afterall, good sexual health is sexy.