Clearwater, Fla. – EPIC (Empath Partners in Care), a member of Empath Health, announces the opening of the EPIC Sexual Health Center in early summer 2021 at 300 49th Street South in St. Petersburg. Services will be mirrored at EPIC’s Tampa location beginning in the Fall.
The St. Petersburg location is freestanding and is the only local facility to offer specialized STI services and support as their primary function. The Tampa Center will be inside of EPIC’s Tampa campus at 4703 N. Florida Avenue.
Both Sexual Health Centers will provide an array of medical, educational, support and resources to empower people to achieve better sexual health and make informed decisions about their sexual well-being. Including all Sexually Transmitted Infection (STI) testing and treatment (HEP C, HPV, Syphilis, Herpes, Gonorrhea and HIV), pregnancy testing and referrals, partner notification services, educational services and workshops on safer sex and overall sexual health.
In 2018 the CDC estimated 20 percent of the US population, approximately one in five people, had an STI and cost the healthcare system nearly $16 million. Almost half of those infections were among youth aged 15-24. The Center will be located about a mile away from Boca Ciega High School and will offer a safe space for teens to be educated and ask questions.
“EPIC was created to fight the HIV epidemic more than 30 years ago and we see this expansion as a natural progression of services that allows us to more fully impact the entire spectrum of an individual’s sexual health needs,” said Rafael Sciullo, president and CEO of Empath Health.
Joy Winheim, executive director of EPIC, said, “As we work to address the social determinants of health care that impact many parts of our community, we will improve access to quality STI testing and treatment. We know certain groups (adolescents and young adults, minority populations and men having sex with men) are impacted in greater numbers and untreated STIs often lead to more serious STDs, including HIV. Our Center is a safe, sex-positive space for everyone-we don’t care what your race, gender, sexual orientation or identity is – we are truly all-inclusive. With our maximum capacity of serving approximately 10,000 clients in a year in St. Petersburg, we can make a difference in the sexual health in our community.”
The approximately 1,800 square foot building about a mile outside of Gulfport was purchased in 2020 and is undergoing significant renovations that will transform it from a house into a functional sexual health center.
Fundraising for the St. Petersburg Center is continuing with the goal of raising $800,000 through individual and organizational donations. Visit MyEPIC.org/Vision to learn more about how to contribute.
About Empath Health
Empath Health is a nonprofit integrated network of care that provides expert, life-changing health care to those with chronic and advanced illnesses. Empath Health includes hospice, home health and physician services, independent living assistance and day care for seniors, HIV services and advance care planning. Contact Empath Health at (727) 467-7423 or EmpathHealth.org.