The mission of STD clinics is to provide testing and treatment for (STDs), and promote safer intimate practices. However, many STD clinics do not have a lot of resources to educate patients about other, related topics.
Although STD education may not be a formal component of the clinic’s services, the information that patients receive from their providers can play a significant role in the prevention of related intimate health issues. In order to help STD patients take an active role in their own care, clinics can make an effort to provide a more comprehensive education.
Here are three ways that free STD clinics can play a role in adult education.
Provide regular clinic hours
As health care providers, it is important that STD clinics are open and accessible to their communities. This means that patients need to be able to visit the clinic during regular business hours. Providing regular hours can help make the clinic more accessible to patients who work or have children who need care.
Regular hours also allow patients to visit the clinic at a time that is convenient for them. This can reduce their anxiety around visiting a medical facility, and provide a lower-pressure environment for discussion. Providing regular hours can also help patients get a better understanding of their STD testing and treatment options.
Provide formal education
While education about sex and relationships can be valuable in and of itself, it can also help patients take an active role in their own care. This is especially true for individuals who may have a history of sexual abuse, or who may be dealing with complex emotions around their diagnosis.
In order to best serve the needs of these individuals, STD clinics can provide education that is informed by evidence. This can include discussing the facts about sexual abuse, and the meaning behind the acronym “STI”. Providing education informed by current evidence can help STD patients feel more comfortable in their own skin, and can allow them to make informed decisions when it comes to their health.
Have a patient resource library
As part of the services they provide, many STD clinics have a patient resource library. These libraries are a centralized location where patients can look through brochures, and take home informative materials about safe sex practices, STDs, and other related topics.
Having a resource library can help make the clinic a more attractive place for patients to visit. It can also help reduce the burden on busy medical professionals, who may not have time to discuss such topics during regular clinic hours.
Resource libraries can be a tremendous source of educational materials. They can also contain books, DVDs, and other resources that can help patients better understand common health conditions and treatments.
Offer online resources
With the many benefits of online resources, it’s easy to see why many STD clinics are offering them as part of their services. Many patients may not have reliable Internet access at home, or may prefer to research their health conditions on their own time.
Offering online resources can help patients maintain their privacy, while still receiving the information they need. Search engines can also be a useful resource for finding additional information about common health conditions and treatments.
STD clinics play an important role in public health. They provide testing and treatment for sexually transmitted diseases, and their role in public education is vital.
However, many clinics do not have the resources to offer more than just testing and treatment. Providing regular clinic hours, formal education, and a patient resource library can help make the clinic a more attractive place for patients to visit.
As patients’ primary source of information about their health, it is vital that STD clinics are accessible and have the time to discuss more than just testing and treatment options. Providing these additional resources will allow the clinic to play an active role in adult education, and can help patients feel more comfortable discussing their health conditions and related topics.