A sexual health center is an organization that helps aid in responsible and healthy sexuality for the public. These centers often use education and preventive methods for teaching the community about sexual health. Centers might provide other services such as handing out birth control, providing treatment for sexually transmitted diseases (STDs), giving sexual check-ups, helping with responsible sexual decisions and providing pregnancy counseling. Sometimes a sexual health center might provide other services, such as sex therapy counseling, pregnancy care, urology, rape counseling and abortions.
Education is a main component of most sexual health centers, both for teenagers and adults. Outreach programs go into the community to provide information on testing for STDs and other sexual conditions. They provide information on ways prevent STDs, such as using condoms, and might demonstrate how forms of birth control are used. A representative from a sexual health center might hand out information packets and condoms to the public or place them in public areas where they can be picked up. Other methods of family planning are discussed in community outreach programs, including abstinence, forms of birth control other than condoms and vasectomies for men.
Sexual check-ups and pregnancy counseling are services that are often provided at a sexual health center. This includes annual examinations such as pap smears, providing prescriptions for birth control and helping inform pregnant women of options for their pregnancy. Some sexual health centers provide abortion counseling and abortions, but others do not have this service and will recommend another location. An individual can go to a sexual health center to talk about his or her sexuality and learn about making responsible decisions, such as whether he or she is ready to begin a sexual relationship with a partner. Testing for human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS) and other STDs is performed at many sexual health center locations.
Another service that might be offered at a sexual health center is sex therapy counseling. This is done for individuals who are having problems with their sexuality, such as painful intercourse, lack of interest, a past experience with rape and arousal difficulties. Sex therapy is a service that can be provided for individuals or couples and is done by a sex therapy counselor. Complete pregnancy care is sometimes offered at sexual health centers for women who wish to create a birthing plan with a physician working at the center. When offered, urological services include physical examinations for men, such as screening for testicular cancer and male infertility.