The Island Sexual Health clinic at Belmont secondary is only half as successful as it could be.
“Boys aren’t coming in here because they are afraid of being judged by girls and other boys,” Caitlyn O’Brien, events and volunteer co-ordinator for Island Sexual Health.
The clinic is open each Thursday from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. and some weeks up to 25 students come in.
Most are female seeking birth control options and tests for sexually transmitted infections.
“Often the clinic is full of girls and that can be intimidating for the guys,” said Bobbi Turner, executive director of Island Sexual Health.
Some weeks no males use the clinic at all and staff are working with a student committee to generate ideas to get more male students through the door.
Currently staff use a private cell phone to book appointments and soon male students could text the phone for a time to go to the clinic when it’s empty. Another option they’re looking at is to set aside a guys only time.
Male students who do use the clinic are taking advantage of the free condoms or asking questions about sexually transmitted infections. Often it’s to ask for information about signs and symptoms of STIs.
“They are very afraid of herpes and genital warts,” Tamara Barnette, a registered nurse.
Barnette would like more male students to use the clinic.
“It’s not the urethral swab anymore. Boys still think it’s a swab and it will hurt. But it’s just a pee test now,” said Barnette. “We want them to come in now to start the awareness early. … Then they will continue to have STI screening as adults.”