(Island Sexual Health clinic/Google Maps)

The B.C. Ministry of Health has announced a major investment to increase capacity and improve access to the Island Sexual Health Community Centre in Victoria.

Through annual funding of $2.6 million per year and a one-time fund of about $1.1 million through Island Health, the Island Sexual Health Society will be able to hire more staff and expand their space.

“Community health centres play a vital role in the communities they serve, as they help address the unique health needs of residents in the region,” said Adrian Dix, Minister of Health in a statement.

“We’ve listened to the people in Victoria and included Island Sexual Health as an integral part of our primary care strategy to further improve access to primary care in the region.”

At the moment, the community centre located at 101-3960 Quadra Street has 4.3 full time equivalent (FTE) health care providers, has six examination rooms, and provides sexual health care for 9,000 patients per year.

Through this new fund and partnership with Island Health, the society will recruit approximately 10.9 additional FTE health professionals and can then accommodate over 57,000 patient visits per year.

Once fully staffed, the centre will provide primary care services including chronic disease management, physical and mental health assessments, management of complex sexual health care, gender-affirming care, sexually transmitted infection testing, HIV treatment, wound care, treatment and support, immunizations, and group programs and counselling.

The space occupied by Island Sexual Health Society will also be expanded to add four more examination rooms, including one room equipped for virtual appointments and a large meeting space for group education and teaching sessions.

“This provincial funding will not only ensure that people in Victoria continue to access the sexual health care they need, closer to home, but it will also give people more access to primary care services, something that is much-needed in the community,” said Rob Fleming, MLA for Victoria-Swan Lake.

“It will amplify the great work that Island Sexual Health has been doing for decades.”

Renovations are expected to be complete in fall 2020.