Planned Parenthood urges people in South LA to use free clinics

imageCommunity health clinics have been invaluable to people who are finding themselves unemployed and without health insurance. Planned Parenthood has been providing healthcare services 1916. Today, Planned Parenthood provides affordable access to reproductive health care and sexual health education to more than 125,000 people in Los Angeles County.

According to the most recent STD Morbidity Report for Los Angeles County, South Los Angeles has the highest rates of chlamydia and gonorrhea in the county. Approximately a quarter of all chlamydia and gonorrhea infections in LA County were diagnosed in South Los Angeles.

“That is a really disturbing statistic,” said Serena Josel, Director of Public Affairs for Planned Parenthood Los Angeles (PPLA). Black and Latina women aged 15-24 are the most affected. Josel says that public health data shows that often women of color don’t have adequate insurance, making healthcare a real issue. Those living from paycheck to paycheck “might not realize the expense of going to the doctor for an annual exam is an important expense,” said Josel.

Reproductive health does not always need to be an expense, either. Planned Parenthood and other health centers provide free services. The Los Angeles County STD Program provides free gonorrhea and chlamydia at-home testing kits for women. Patients can order the test kits online, mail them back to the clinic, and receive their results with in a week. The STD program hopes this will help diagnose those who may be too embarrassed to come into a clinic in-person. Chlamydia and gonorrhea, which accounts for more than 95% of the STDs in LA County, are treatable diseases. If left untreated, they “can lead to much more serious health complications–including infertility,” said Josel.

Planned Parenthood also provides preventive education at local schools and community centers. Josel says their education department helps educate over 75,000 teens and their families each year.

“We aren’t just focused on teens, but we also work with parents to make sure they have the tools to start those difficult conversations with their children,” she said.
Josel hopes that grassroots outreach and simple word-of-mouth will also help inform people.

“I think its really important for people to talk about their experience with Planned Parenthood and with health care overall,” said Josel. “We have a long way to go in reducing the shame and stigma that’s attached to basically just taking care of yourself.”

To find out more about the free at-home STD Kit and how to get one, click here.

Planned Parenthood Centers in South Los Angeles:

3637 S. La Brea Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90016
400 W. 30th Street, Los Angeles, CA 90007
8520 So. Broadway, Los Angeles, CA 90003

To request an appointment at any Planned Parenthood Los Angeles health center please visit or call 1-800-576-5544.

Many South Angelenos support universal health care