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Media Release: This Sexual and Reproductive Health Awareness Week, local youth are reminded they have a right to youth-friendly care

Hastings and Prince Edward Counties/February 8, 2021 – February 8-13 is Sexual and Reproductive Health Awareness Week. This year, Hastings Prince Edward Public Health (HPEPH) is reminding local youth that they have a right to youth-friendly sexual health care. This means that all young people have a right to care that recognizes and respects their unique needs, experiences, desires and challenges.

Sexual rights and access to appropriate health care are an essential part of the health and safety of everyone – including youth. Compared to adults, youth may experience additional barriers and challenges accessing health care. These may include uncertainty of where to seek help, limited options or ability to access care, uncertainty about the need for parental permission, and concerns about the confidentiality of services. Youth share the same rights as adults to have their health care needs respected and taken seriously.

The COVID-19 pandemic may make it more challenging for some youth to access health care services, including sexual health support. HPEPH reminds all local youth that the importance of their sexual health is not in lockdown, and they are encouraged to seek support as needed to make informed choices about their health. Many health care options remain available for STI prevention and treatment, birth control, and pregnancy counselling.

“As a young person, you are entitled to confidential, respectful and caring support that understands your unique needs and experiences.,” says Dr. Piotr Oglaza, Medical Officer of Health and CEO at HPEPH. “Many support options are available to help you make informed choices about your sexual health.” 

HPEPH Public Health Nurses and Clinics:

HPEPH public health nurses are available for confidential and non-judgemental support Monday to Friday, 8:30pm-4:30pm at 613-966-5500 x 418 or 1-800-267-2803 x 418 (Monday to Friday, 8:30am – 4:30pm). In addition, many local public schools offer school-based clinics. At these clinics, public health nurses can provide sexual health information, services, and support. In addition, public health nurses also can provide immunizations, information about mental health, and supports to quit using tobacco.

Online and Telephone Support:

SexualHealthOntario offers information and support on sexually transmitted infections, birth control and more. Youth can also chat directly with a sexual health counsellor through the Sexual Health Infoline at Ontario (SHILO) toll-free: 1-800-668-2437 is a trusted source for sexual health information. Topics range from sexually transmitted infections, HIV, LGBTTQ+, birth control, pregnancy and consent. offers a summary of local and provincial sexual health resources.

If you feel you are in a state of crisis, call the 24/7 Mental Health Helpline at 1-866-531-2600.


Media Contacts:

Maureen Hyland, Communications Specialist

Emily Tubbs, Communications Specialist

About Hastings Prince Edward Public Health

Hastings Prince Edward Public Health (HPEPH) is a public health agency that serves the counties of Hastings and Prince Edward from four local offices. We monitor the health of our local population, deliver programs and services within our communities, and help develop healthy public policies. We provide information and support in many areas to help improve the health and well-being of our residents. Together with our communities, we help people become as healthy as they can be. For more information, please visit You can also find us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter.

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Appointments for individuals 5+ can be booked through the provincial vaccine booking site, or by calling 1-833-943-3900 from 8 am to 8 pm, 7 days a week.  

Due to limited supply, HPEPH will initially be prioritizing available bivalent vaccine for residents and workers at identified highest-risk facilities.  Some HPEPH vaccination clinics MAY offer the bivalent vaccine, as availability allows. Vaccine clinics in Hastings and Prince Edward Counties will continue to offer monovalent vaccines (the same mRNA vaccines given as the primary series) for all eligible individuals until a steady supply of the bivalent vaccine is available.

Visit the HPEPH vaccine booking web page for details.


Symptoms or exposure? Visit for the most up to date information about what to do.

For the most up to date information on current provincial restrictions, visit

The Ministry of Health has launched a new toll-free line as an additional resource to help answer questions from the public regarding evolving COVID-19 testing and isolation guidance. The line can be reached at 1-888-777-0730, and is available from 8 am to 6 pm, 7 days a week.