A LGBT-centered clinic in Doylestown will put out the rainbow welcome mat at its official opening Friday afternoon.
Novus ACS Community Relations and Marketing Manager Benny Vukaj said Monday the Duane Road facility off Route 611 welcomes individuals regardless of their sexuality, insured or not, as well as the homeless and those with substance abuse issues. “We take it upon ourselves to teach our staff about any community we are serving.”
Vukaj says if a patient is uninsured, the clinic offers patient assistance programs. “We can help them apply and get their medication covered.”
Open since October, Novus tests individuals at no charge for an array of sexually-transmitted diseases. If patients are positive for gonorrhea, chlamydia or syphilis, their treatment is free.
Vukaj says Novus’s three regional clinics offer a comprehensive treatment regimen to those at risk for or living with HIV. It also offers PEP (post-exposure prophylaxis) to patients who believe they have been exposed to HIV for up to 28 days, far longer than the three to five days that hospitals offer.
NOVUS also works with Family Service and THE Bucks LGBTQ Center to offer additional services to patients. “It takes a village to cater to a patient. We know we can’t do it all,” Vukaj says.
Vukaj believes gay-centered clinics play an important role because some individuals aren’t completely honest with their providers about their status and therefore don’t get the treatment they need. “They may feel judged or feel shame about their sexuality, or don’t feel comfortable disclosing certain information to doctor who may lack an understanding of the community.”
Founded in 2013 by Allen Smith, Novus ACS employs 30 qualified medical professionals and also operates clinics in Stroudsburg and Bethlehem.
“We have big plans for next year that include opening two additional offices, expanding the telemedicine and Hepatitis C treatment programs, partnering with additional outpatient rehabilitation programs and taking Novus ACS to surrounding states,” Smith said in a recent statement.
According to the Centers for Disease Control, the number of sexually transmitted diseases in the U.S. increased last year by 3.5 percent, with Pennsylvania’s rate of increase exceeding the national average by 1.4 percent.