More sexual health conversations are finding their way to St. Petersburg thanks to Empath Partners in Care’s (EPIC) new sexual health building at 300 49th St. S.
Since the center opened publicly on Thursday, July 8, walk-ins can gain access to rapid STD testing and treatment, sexual health information, PREP, emergency contraceptives and more. EPIC hosted an official ribbon-cutting, attended by Florida Representative Charlie Crist, on Thursday, July 22.
“This is a sex-positive space for anyone,” said Joy Winheim, the executive director of EPIC. “We don’t care what you’re doing, we just want you to do it safely.”
The center also makes free STD preventatives like condoms and dental dams readily available, displayed at the front desk like breath mints.
The 49th Street building is a renovated 1,800-square-foot space, but for its visitors, it could be the difference between a health emergency and wellness.
The idea is sex positivity, with an emphasis on safety.
“Come to us if you’ve had an unplanned sexual encounter, or you just need some education,” Winheim said. “The goal is to get people through the door.”
The cost for treatment operates on a sliding scale and the center accepts insurance and cash, but free services are not an option – yet.
“We would love to do it for free, but we are not recognized for that,” the executive director said. “We’re in the process of applying for grants.”
According to Winheim, HIV testing is free, however, and always will be.
The center is EPIC’s first stand-alone health center, with the main medical provider at 1st Ave. S. The organization is opening a similar treatment center in Tampa come August 1.
Find out more at myepic.org/about-us.