Preventive care key to women’s health

Wellness, cancer screening, STI testing, treatment and education among priorities at PPSAT health center

Planned Parenthood South Atlantic (PPSAT) plays a crucial part in creating social capital in Charlotte, N.C. by providing high quality preventive care, sex education programs and access to healthcare for more than 5,000 men, women and teens at the health center on Albemarle Rd.

PPSAT provides a wide range of sexual and reproductive healthcare services to people of all genders and ages. Services offered include birth control, sexually transmitted infection (STI) testing and treatment and HPV vaccine services, breast and cervical cancer screenings, well-person exams, pregnancy testing and options counseling, gender-affirming hormone therapy, HIV testing and counseling, PrEP (Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis), PEP (Post-Exposure Prophylaxis), emergency contraception and more.

The Charlotte health center is staffed by highly-trained nurses and other health care professionals who put the total wellness of patients at the forefront of care.

For more than 100 years, Planned Parenthood has been committed to providing high-quality healthcare around the world to everyone who walks through the doors, no matter their race, income level, sexual orientation, gender identity, immigration status or insurance status.

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“Preventive screening is vital,” says Stephanie Limesand, PPSAT clinician. “We assess the whole picture during these visits — vital signs, a full physical exam, labs, family history review, social history, sexual history, allergies, medications, tobacco screening.

“We review recommendations with the patient based off of age and their history,” she says. “We determine if there is a need for referrals and further evaluation. We discuss health promotion and disease prevention. These screenings are recommended yearly.”

PPSAT offers comprehensive total-wellness preventive care and services, including anemia testing, screening for high blood pressure, cholesterol, diabetes and thyroid dysfunction; employment and sports physicals; flu vaccinations; routine physical exams; smoking cessation and urinary tract infection testing and treatment, among others.

Screening for cervical and breast cancer at PPSAT can literally be life-saving, Limesand says.

“We recommend cervical cancer screening for all women starting at the age of 21,” she says. A swab of the cervix is taken during a pelvic exam and sent to the lab for evaluation. Results typically take a week to return.

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Breast exams during preventive visits should start for all women at the age of 21, Limesand says. “At every visit, we also educate women on how to assess their breasts. Women aged 40 and up we recommend yearly mammography screening — unless there’s a family history, which we determine at their preventive visit — and we give patients a list of places they can obtain this screening.

“For women who come to the clinic for a specific breast complaint like having a lump or pain, we perform a breast exam in office and if we determine we need further imaging, we will refer for a diagnostic mammogram and/or ultrasound for further evaluation,” she says.

Education is a key component to women’s preventive health measures, and Planned Parenthood is the number one provider of sex education in the country.

PPSAT reaches and empowers Charlotte’s women with a variety of highly effective programs, including:
• HIP Teens: Sexual risk-reduction intervention for low-income, urban, adolescent girls
• Parents Matter: promoting parent-child discussions about sexuality
• Get Real: an inclusive program for all teens to develop skills to make positive life choices.

More About Planned Parenthood

For a century, Planned Parenthood has been one of the nation’s leading providers of high-quality, affordable healthcare for women, men and young people, and the nation’s largest provider of sex education. Planned Parenthood health centers provide contraception, testing and treatment for sexually transmitted infections (STIs), and life-saving cancer screenings to millions of people in the U.S. With a presence in all 50 states and Washington, D.C., Planned Parenthood has 56 affiliates, which operate more than 600 health centers. Globally, Planned Parenthood supports local partners in 12 focus countries, reaching over 1.5 million individuals with reproductive health information and services. Women, men and young people from every community and income level view Planned Parenthood as their first-choice provider of care. For more information, visit plannedparenthood.org/planned-parenthood-south-atlantic.

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