Regardless of Covid-19…
Teen Clinic is still happening every week! As always, it’s on Mondays. However, the time has been adjusted to 3 PM – 5 PM. Visits are done first via Telehealth, and for certain services, we may then ask you to come into the clinic. It’s still first come, first serve: just call between 3 to 5 PM (the earlier the better!) to reserve a slot. Before coming to Teen Clinic, click here for Covid-19 updates.
FYI: We are closed on the following Mondays: President’s Day, Memorial Day, and Labor Day and for any other federal holidays that fall on a Monday.
Your Teen Clinic
Teen Clinic is for teens through age 19, and we welcome all genders and sexual orientations. All services at Teen Clinic are free and confidential. (Your donations and insurance help keep Bridgercare here for you, but both are completely optional!) At Teen Clinic, we will listen to your needs and work with you to figure out what is best for YOU. Our goal is to provide respectful, nonjudgmental care, and to help you take control of your own sexual health.
Family planning and reproductive health are the keys to your future! If you’re thinking about becoming sexually active, or if you already are, Teen Clinic can help you to make informed decisions about what birth control method is right for you and/or how to protect yourself against sexually transmitted infections.
Your First Visit
Coming to Teen Clinic might sound terrifying…Will getting tested hurt? (NO!) Can I bring a friend, partner, or parent? (YES!) What if I am a member of the LGBTQ+ community or I just don’t even know yet, but I might be? (ALL are welcome at Bridgercare!) What if I don’t want my parents to know? (They won’t.) Our friendly and professional staff wants you to be comfortable and feel at home here at Bridgercare. Walk me through a visit at Bridgercare…
When you Arrive:
Check in at the front desk. Please let us know if you need language (translation) help.
Our intake forms collect the following information. Anything you tell the clinic staff is private, and will not be shared with anyone outside of the clinic.
- Personal Information: Your birth date, telephone number, mail and email addresses and emergency contact.
Once you have completed the paperwork and returned it to the front desk, you will wait in the waiting room until your first name is called by one of our staff.
Your visit will begin with either a clinical assistant, medical assistant or registered nurse, who will collect your medical history and vital signs.
Your medical visit will then be provided by a provider (RN, Nurse Practitioner, or Physician Assistant). It’s important to tell them if you have problems or concerns, including:
- periods that aren’t normal
- pain during sex
- vaginal discharge or discomfort
- body changes – “What’s normal for my age?”
- your health – Have you been sick or do you have a serious illness?
Your provider will discuss your concerns with you during your visit. They will ask:
- if you need birth control
- if you or your partner are currently using birth control
- if you are using condoms
Your provider will instruct you if you need to undress and wear a clinic gown for your exam and where to sit in the exam room.
She will review your medical history and ask more questions. Remember that everything you tell the staff is private. Some questions are personal, but honest answers will help your provider to know what care and tests are important for you.
You may have a breast or pelvic exam, depending on your needs. Men may have a testicular exam. A breast, pelvic, or testicular exam may be recommended if you are experiencing pain in those areas, have genital symptoms or concerns, or felt a lump in one of those areas. Tests for sexually transmitted infections (STIs) may be done during the visit, and are based on your sexual history. Regardless of what’s indicated, the patient is always in control of the visit. You are in the drivers seat so nothing will happen without your consent and if you elect to opt out of the exam, that’s totally your decision.
Please tell your provider if you are uncomfortable or don’t understand a procedure or test. We welcome questions and want you to understand your care!
Now you are done with the exam! What’s next?
- you’ll get dressed
- you’ll talk to the provider about your visit
You will get medicine or a prescription to treat an infection if you are diagnosed. You will also receive a supply of your chosen birth control method, including condoms, if you wish.
The provider will explain when you should return to the clinic.
Remember that most people are nervous about having an exam. Ask questions, listen to the answers, and let the clinic staff help you through the visit. Your health matters!
When your visit is complete, the provider will walk you to the front desk. The front desk will help you check out and help you schedule a follow-up appointment, if necessary.
After leaving the clinic, if there is something you forgot to ask, don’t hesitate to call. The clinic staff regularly answers questions via the phone!
If you bring someone along to support you, we want them to feel welcome. If you bring a partner, friend, or parent, they will be asked to wait outside the room for the first couple minutes of your visit to allow you complete privacy during the initial intake questions. We do this so that you can answer everything honestly and in case you need to talk about sensitive information, like previous partners, sexual abuse, or anything you don’t want to tell anyone else (at least not yet). There are times when we may not bring your support person back for the rest of the visit. This could be to protect your privacy or because of the type of procedure you are having, but we will discuss this with you to make sure you are comfortable with everything!
FREE and CONFIDENTIAL! Your parents don’t need to know and you can bring a friend if you are nervous 🙂
Services at Teen Clinic include…
Birth control, emergency contraception (Plan B/Morning After Pill), condoms, period pain, pregnancy tests, pregnancy options counseling, STI testing and treatment, annual exams for all genders (women, men, intersex, trans), depression and anxiety help, and we can also help connect you with resources if you are experiencing sexual abuse or assault.
While Teen Clinic is completely FREE, we will ask you two questions about money during your visit. 1. We will ask if you have insurance and if you are comfortable submitting your visit to insurance. Submitting your visit to insurance helps Bridgercare pay for your free services, BUT if you don’t want your parents to know you came to Bridgercare, have other privacy concerns, or don’t have insurance, that is ok! You do not need to provide any insurance to us if you don’t want to. 2. Don’t be surprised when we ask if you would like to donate at the end of your visit. We are a nonprofit and we ask ALL patients we see if they want to make a donation to support Bridgercare. You do not need to donate at all! Or you can give $5, $10, or more… any amount helps Bridgercare 🙂
Teen Clinic offers free, unbiased counseling to help you learn more about your options if you are pregnant. You’re welcome to bring a friend or partner with you. We’re also able to meet with your family or partner if you need help having this discussion. Whether you decide to pursue parenting, consider adoption, or end your pregnancy, Teen clinic is a safe place and our providers are here to help you figure out the next steps.
YOU ASKED, WE ANSWERED!
Great question! Yes. In Montana, the law says that minors have the right to access sexual healthcare without the consent or notification of their parents. That means they can start a birth control method or get tested for STIs without their parents being involved. In fact, it’s illegal for clinics to share sexual health information with parents (or anyone else) without the patient’s permission.
That being said, it’s totally understandable if your parents are worried about you. That’s their job! Be sure to talk to them about your healthcare and choices when you are ready. Also, if we know you are being sexually abused by someone who is responsible for you (a parent, guardian, or other adult) we are responsible for helping you.
First, if you are experiencing pain, bleeding, itching, or discharge, make an appointment to see a medical provider soon or come see us during Teen Clinic.
In general, sexually transmitted infections are just that—sexually transmitted! However, there are a few infections considered STIs that can spread non-sexually. For instance, pubic lice (also known as Crabs) can be spread through wet towels, loofahs, bedsheets, and wet clothing. Pubic lice can live outside the body for up to 24 hours in locations that are warm, dark, and moist. Additionally, according to the Center for Disease Control, 4% of all cases of Trichomononiasis are transmitted through hot tubs and wet towels.
Bloodborne STIs—like HIV, Syphilis, and Hepatitis B & C—can also be spread non-sexually. This most often occurs during IV drug use. Again, it’s important to realize these infections would not be considered STIs in this scenario, since they were not spread sexually. (However, if you received them non-sexually, you could still transmit them to others through sexual activity.)
Last, it’s important to be specific about what we mean by “sex.” If you are engaging in genital to genital contact—even if you are not engaging in penetrative, oral, anal, or vaginal sex — you are at risk for some STIs. In particular, HPV, Herpes, Syphilis (when a sore is present), and pubic lice can all spread through skin to skin contact.
Teen Clinic is here for you! We know it can be scary to learn you’re pregnant. The first step is to connect with someone you trust who will support you. Teen Clinic offers free, unbiased decision counseling to help you learn more about your options. You’re welcome to bring your support person with you. We’re also able to meet with your family or partner if you need help having this discussion.
Whether you decide to pursue parenting, consider adoption, or end your pregnancy, Teen Clinic will give you a safe place to discuss your next steps.
Great question! Unfortunately, STIs will not show up (on either a test or symptomatically) until at least 2-3 weeks after sexual interaction with an infected person. Teen Clinic always recommends using condoms to help reduce your risk of contracting an STI.
Thanks for asking! First, there is no age limit for purchasing a pregnancy test. If there is a pharmacy or grocery store within walking distance, you can buy a pregnancy test over the counter without any trouble. Prices vary from $1-$20. Some teens are most comfortable visiting a store with self-checkout.
At Bridgercare, we offer FREE pregnancy testing appointments with counseling available on ALL options (pre-natal care, adoption, and pregnancy termination) during Teen clinic and at any other time.
Teen Clinic is also easily accessible by bus! Check out Streamline’s website to see which bus you’d need to hop on.
Last, consider talking to another trusted adult in your life. Do you have a mentor, sibling, teacher, or friend of the family you can turn to? It’s important to feel supported as you make these big choices, and another adult may be able to help you get to Teen Clinic. If your pregnancy test is negative and you still plan on being sexually active, it’s a good idea to start a birth control method—so visiting Teen Clinic may be your best option.
Websites to Check Out!
Bedsider is a birth control support network for women 18-29. It has a great birth control guide!
Before Play is a resource for promoting good sexual and reproductive health and well-being, and helps to “normalize” conversations about these topics.
Safeteens is your no-nonsense guide to best friends, boyfriends, girlfriends, frenemies and enemies.
Sex, Etc. is a national organization providing comprehensive sexuality education to young people and adults.
Planned Parenthood Teen is a leading resource for sexual and reproductive healthcare.
Scarleteen is real world sex ed: inclusive, comprehensive, and smart sexuality information for teens and 20’s.
Stayteen encourages you to enjoy your teen years and avoid the responsibilities that come with too-early pregnancy and parenting. STAY TEEN!
It’s Your Sex Life the official website of MTV.
Love is Respect: National Dating Abuse Helpline is the ultimate resource for healthy dating and relationships.
RAINN: Rape, Abuse, Incest National Network is the nation’s largest anti-sexual violence organization and operates the National Sexual Assault Hotline (800.656.HOPE) in partnership with more than 1,100 local rape crisis centers across the country.
Sexual Assault Awareness for youth, teens, and young adults to better identify what consent does and does not look like.
A Thin Line was developed to empower you to identify, respond to, and stop the spread of digital abuse in your life and amongst your peers.