The power to plan ones life often depends on access to resources and services that allow you to follow through on that plan.
Each individual, each couple has a different dream and plan. They may include going to college, having a career and starting a family. A major variable can be pregnancy, unplanned or planned. One of every two pregnancies in the U.S. is unplanned.
We know that people who have fewer resources have less power over the timing, spacing and planning of their pregnancies, said Liane Jollon, clinic nurse manager at San Juan Basin Health. Thats why its important to remove as many barriers as possible to provide people of all income levels access to self-determination over pregnancy.
As a Title X site, San Juan Basin Health is doing exactly that in La Plata and Archuleta counties. It provides comprehensive reproductive services including exams, sexually transmitted infections (STIs) testing and treatment, HPV immunizations and birth control. There is a wide variety of options including long-acting reversible contraception that lasts three to 10 years.
The typical client is female between ages 18 and 26. Some have had previous pregnancies. Most want to time or space their pregnancies. STI testing and treatment are important because some STIs interfere with future fertility and can pose a health threat to the fetus.
Services are provided on a sliding scale with 85 percent of clients paying nothing for their service, including their choice of contraceptive method, while others pay about 25 percent of the service cost.
Jollon said the program works realy well because the people being seen are beginning to take power over planning their own reproductive health.
Another barrier was removed early this year by instituting next-day appointments. The immediacy of calling one day and getting in the next day has benefits on both sides.
We know that when young people call, theyre already sexually active (roughly 90 percent of callers), so we want to get them in as quickly as possible. Teens and young adults live in a world where if they want something, they want it now. Were meeting them in their space, said Jollon. Next-day appointments are overwhelmingly successful.
San Juan Basin Health removed another barrier to accessing services for a key population. Having a satellite clinic at the Durango High School Student Health Center increases the likelihood of teens using reproductive health services. Its an effective partnership with San Juan Basin Health providing oversight and supplies through Title X and the school-based health center staff implementing the program.
In Colorado, Title X funding prevents 9,600 pregnancies a year. For Jollon, helping someone become empowered to plan something as personal and life-altering as when to have a child is the real success.
Its a part of health care its a part of prevention for everyone of reproductive health age, she said.
And its a part of planning ones life.
Appointments are available by calling 335-2013 in Durango or 264-2409 in Pagosa Springs. Learn more at sjbhd.org/reproductive-health.
Jane Looney is the communications director for the San Juan Basin Health Department.