Reproductive Health

Reproductive Health addresses the need for comprehensive reproductive health care and family planning services to be available and accessible to all people of reproductive age in the municipality to prevent unintended pregnancy, promote optimal birth spacing and outcomes, and address sexual health needs. Our health department takes an active role in leading and participating in community coalitions related to reproductive health. This includes working closely with schools and facilitating linkages and referral protocols between community health and human service providers as well as working with community providers to identify needs, best practices and challenges in the community. Our department’s responsibility is to conduct outreach to identify high-risk individuals of reproductive age who are not currently engaged in health care and make referrals to engage in education, care and facilitated enrollment as necessary.

Our department is required to utilize public health data.
In meeting the requirements of the regulation, our department:

✅Develop a comprehensive understanding of the specific factors that influence the health status of women, children & individuals of reproductive age including:

  • Use of reproductive health care services.

✅Conduct focus groups of families & providers to gain a better understanding of the barriers in services. A few examples of such focus groups include:

  • Adolescents from a high-need area, to determine their views towards sexual health & access to birth control, identify ways to improve access to services.

✅Our department shall maintain a family health program designed to achieve the following goals:

  • Improve birth outcomes, decrease maternal & infant mortality & morbidity, and increase the number of pregnant women and women who recently gave birth, who received early continuous prenatal & post birth care and other supportive services to address risks & needs.

✅Our department will participate in developing/adapting public education materials/campaigns, promoting & disseminating such materials or campaigns to:

  • Promote health behaviors, reduce risk factors associated with poor maternal and infant outcomes, unintended pregnancy & STIs, and related health disparities.
  • Conducting outreach to schools to discuss the importance of reproductive health education & services.

Guide to Reproductive Health

Protect Yourself


The definition of abstinence is when you don’t have sexual intercourse. This is one of the less realistic strategies for college students, but it’s the most reliable.


Condoms are 98% effective against pregnancy and some STIs but do not stop the skin-to-skin spread of diseases. Safe storage locations - uncluttered drawers, empty tin, toiletry or cosmetic bag without sharp objects in it.


Human papillomavirus (HPV) is the most common sexually transmitted infection (STI). Many people with HPV don't develop any symptoms but can still infect others through sexual contact.

Birth Control

Birth control (contraception) is any method, medicine, or device used to prevent pregnancy. There are many different types of birth control to choose from.

Contraception is the use of medicines, devices, or surgery to prevent pregnancy. There are many different types. Some types can also help prevent sexually transmitted diseases (STDs).

Many safe and effective birth control methods are available for adolescents who are sexually active or considering having sex. They can choose the method that works best for them. These include:

STI are spread by contracting enough viral or bacterial cells from one partner to become infected. Untreated infections can lead to infertility, cancer, pelvic inflammatory disease, internal bleeding and death.

1 in 4 college students has an active Sexually Transmitted Infection.

If you are sexually active, getting tested for STDs is one of the most important things you can do to protect your health. Make sure you have an open and honest conversation about your sexual history and STD testing with your doctor. Ask whether you should be tested for STDs if you have concerns. If you are not comfortable talking with your regular health care provider about STDs, there are many clinics that provide confidential and free or low-cost testing.

Need help finding a testing site? STI testing site finder

Questions to ask your healthcare provider:

- If I'm covered on my parent's insurance, will they find out about STI testes I've had?        -What if I need condoms?

-What happens with my lab test results? Who gets the results?       -How do I get tested for STIs or HIV?

-What if I have an STI? Will you tell anyone else?     - What happens if I have a big problem and need help telling my parents?

Reproductive Rights, Sexual Violence, Reporting

The term sexual assault refers to sexual contact or behavior that occurs without explicit consent of the victim.

The perpetrator of sexual violence is usually someone the survivor knows, such as a friend, current or former intimate partner, coworker, neighbor, or family member. Sexual violence can occur in person, online, or through technology, such as posting or sharing sexual pictures of someone without their consent, or non-consensual sexting.

Deciding whether to report sexual abuse or sexual assault is a personal decision. Not every victim of sexual violence will choose to report their experience.


Abortion is legal and protected throughout New York

New York has robust protections in place to ensure that anyone who can get pregnant — including transgender men and nonbinary people — can get an abortion.

New York made abortion legal in 1970 – three years before Roe v. Wade. In 2019, New York passed the Reproductive Health Act to protect access to reproductive rights throughout the state and make the right to abortion found in Roe v. Wade part of state law. Even after Roe was overturned in 2022, New York ensures that all pregnant people (including transgender men and nonbinary people) have the right to a safe and legal abortion:

Sexual consent is consent to engage in sexual activity.

Think of "Fries"

Freely given, Reversible, Informed, Enthusiastic, & Specific.

NYS Hotline for Sexual Assault & Domestic Abuse: 800-942-6906. For more resources visit the NYS Coalition Against Sexual Assault.

RAINN's (rape, abuse & incest national network) National Sexual Assault Hotline offers support for survivors of sexual assault anywhere in the nation, college campuses and beyond. 800-656-HOPE (4673), Online Chat (English),  Online Chat (Español)

National Sexual Violence Resource Center provides a wide range of information on sexual assault for victims, family members, and more.
 Directory of organizations:

  • Sexual violence is common. Over half of women and almost 1 in 3 men have experienced sexual violence involving physical contact during their lifetimes. One in 4 women and about 1 in 26 men have experienced completed or attempted rape. About 1 in 9 men were made to penetrate someone during his lifetime. Additionally, 1 in 3 women and about 1 in 9 men experienced sexual harassment in a public place.
  • Sexual violence starts early. More than 4 in 5 female rape survivors reported that they were first raped before age 25 and almost half were first raped as a minor (i.e., before age 18). Nearly 8 in 10 male rape survivors reported that they were made to penetrate someone before age 25 and about 4 in 10 were first made to penetrate as a minor.
  • Sexual violence disproportionately affects some groups. Women and racial and ethnic minority groups experience a higher burden of sexual violence. For example, more than 2 in 5 non-Hispanic American Indian or Alaska Native and non-Hispanic multiracial women were raped in their lifetime.
  • Sexual violence is costly. Recent estimates put the lifetime cost of rape at $122,461 per survivor, including medical costs, lost productivity, criminal justice activities, and other costs.

Emotional and verbal abuse includes insults and attempts to scare, isolate, or control you.

Physical abuse is intentional bodily injury

The behavior includes abusive tactics, threats, and actions that may or may not rise to the level of criminal behavior. The victim may experience acts or threats of physical or sexual violence, as well as intimidation, humiliation, isolation, verbal abuse, and economic control. Domestic violence can affect people of any gender, sexual orientation, race, ethnicity, nationality, socio-economic status, age, or religion.

Resources: National Teen Dating Abuse Hotline: 866-331-9474, National Domestic Violence Hotline: 800-799-SAFE (7233)

To talk to an advocate, contact the NYS Domestic and Sexual Violence Hotline: call 800.942.6906, text 844.997.2121 All conversations are confidential, secure and available 24/7 in most languages.

Deciding whether to report sexual abuse or sexual assault is a personal decision. Not every victim of sexual violence will choose to report their experience. 

After a sexual assault your body and mind will still be processing the trauma and there is no wrong way to respond. It may feel overwhelming trying to figure out what to do next. Learning about your options can help you decide what’s best for you.

A forensic rape exam, sometimes referred to as a “rape kit,” is a medical exam given when a sexual assault occurs. SANEs (Sexual Assault Nurse Examiners) are specifically trained to complete this exam and understand the sensitive nature of a trauma. You can always have an advocate with you and you can stop at any time. The benefit of getting an FRE is that you can take care of your immediate medical needs and collect evidence in case you decide to report the assault now or in the future.

In order to preserve evidence, it is recommended not to bathe, use the bathroom, clean or change clothes after an assault. With your permission, the following will happen during your exam:

  • Injuries like cuts, scrapes and bruises will be addressed.
  • The SANE will ask you about your medical history.
  • There will be an external and internal examination.
  • The SANE will take blood, hair and urine samples.
  • The SANE may document injuries in writing or with photographs.
  • The SANE will collect evidence such as clothing, stray hairs and DNA evidence.
  • You will be offered treatments for STIs and pregnancy.

You can stop the exam at any time or refuse any part of the exam at any time.

What if I already showered and washed away evidence?

Many survivors instinctively bathe, use the bathroom, clean and change after an assault. If you’ve already done any of these things, you can still get a FRE. A SANE will still be able to treat your injuries, offer preventative care, talk about your options and collect any remaining evidence.

Do I have to report it to the police?

No. Unless you are a minor, a medical professional cannot report a sexual assault without your consent. The evidence collected during the FRE will only be used if you decide to file a report. An advocate can help go over your options to determine if reporting is right for you.

How much will it cost?

New York State law requires medical providers to discuss all billing options with survivors. A survivor may choose to go through their insurance. Another option is for the medical provider to bill the NYS Office of Victim Services directly for reimbursement. This will cost the survivor nothing. An advocate can help you walk through the process.



Our focus is providing community education and information, preventing unintended pregnancies, and promoting healthy pregnancy outcomes.

We provide comprehensive reproductive education to community members through school classes, groups, camps and other platforms.  Topics include healthy relationships, communication and decision-making skills, risk reduction, HIV and other Sexually transmitted diseases (STD), blood borne pathogens and peer education.  All education is age and stage appropriate to meet the needs of specific groups.

For more information or to request services, call (518) 873-3500.

Reproductive health resources are also provided by nurses to women and families who received maternal, infant and child health home visits.

Condom Access Program (CAP)Our Condom Access Program (CAP) places education about sexual health, birth control options and more in easily-accessible locations throughout Essex County.  CAP packs are small bags with condoms, information on proper condom use, all birth control options and STD/HIV testing information.  CAP Packs are FREE and available at these community locations:

Elizabethtown: Public Health & WIC Offices, 123 Water Street
Kinney Drugs, 7550 Court Street

Lake Placid: Kinney Drugs, 1954 Saranac Avenue

Port Henry: Moriah Pharmacy, 4315 Main Street

Willsboro: Willsboro Pharmacy, 3932 NYS Route 22

Newcomb: Newcomb Health Center, 4 Santanoni Drive

Schroon Lake: Schroon Lake Pharmacy, 1081 US Route 9