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COVID-19 limited sexual and reproductive health care in region as STIs skyrocket

Des Moines, IA— Planned Parenthood North Central States is bringing back limited in-person services at a health center in Sioux City, IA to meet patient need in the region.

The Sioux City health center will offer STI testing and family planning services, including birth control, IUD consultation, LARCs, Depo shots, and more. Medication abortion care will also be available. The Sioux City health center was forced to close in 2017 after Iowa legislators defunded Planned Parenthood operations.

“Sexual and reproductive health care needs don’t stop during a pandemic and Iowans in the Sioux City area need these services, especially now. New data shows sexually transmitted infections are skyrocketing in the county as the availability of testing and treatment has gone down,” said Erin Davison-Rippey, Iowa State Executive Director for Planned Parenthood North Central States. “We are proud to be opening the Sioux City health center to provide care to Iowans in an area that has lacked access. Our expert staff take every precaution to keep patients healthy during COVID-19, and we will be promoting our many telehealth services. We want to be sure every Iowan can access the health care they need no matter what.”

To limit the spread of COVID-19, patients have access to telehealth services, which launched at the beginning of the pandemic.  Patient use of our telehealth services has increased 250 percent during this time period.

Planned Parenthood health centers are taking all necessary measures to protect patients and physicians when in-person care is necessary. Health centers have a universal in-clinic masking policy, require social distancing and limit in-person contact to only when necessary.

Lack of sexual health access is having a large impact on Woodbury County. STI rates are skyrocketing in Iowa, and particularly in Woodbury County. STI cases jumped 74 percent in Woodbury county since 2017. Gonorrhea cases increased more than 141 percent.

Due to strains on the health care system, access to STI tests and family planning services, which was limited before COVID-19, is even more difficult today. With a lack of testing, the National Coalition of STD Directors anticipates STI rates will continue to skyrocket.

To make an appointment at the Sioux City health center, please call 877-811-7526.

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Planned Parenthood North Central States and its subsidiary organizations provide, promote, and protect reproductive and sexual health through high-quality care, education and advocacy. A member of America’s most trusted reproductive health care provider, our affiliate is proud to support and operate 29 health centers across our five-state region (Iowa, Minnesota, Nebraska, North Dakota and South Dakota).  Each year, we provide health care to nearly 115,000 people and health education to more than 99,000 people in our region.