VICTORIA -- The B.C. government is paying to expand a Victoria-area sexual health clinic, adding more staff and patient examination rooms.

The Island Sexual Health Community Health Centre in Saanich currently operates with 4.3 full-time equivalent staff, including registered nurses and general practitioners, working in six exam rooms at 3960 Quadra St.

The province's health ministry announced Thursday the space would be expanded to 10 exam rooms with the addition of 10.9 full-time equivalent staff.

The Saanich health centre is owned and operated by Island Sexual Health Society, in partnership with Island Health.

The province will provide ongoing funding of $2.6 million annually for the centre, plus a $1.1-million lump sum payment for the expansion, through Island Health.

“Community health centres play a vital role in the communities they serve, as they help address the unique health needs of residents in the region,” said Health Minister Adrian Dix in a statement.

“We’ve listened to the people in Victoria and included Island Sexual Health as an integral part of our primary care strategy to further improve access to primary care in the region."

The sexual health centre currently serves more than 9,000 patients every year, according to the province.

The expanded centre would provide primary care services, including chronic disease management, physical and mental health assessments, management of complex sexual health care, gender-affirming care, sexually transmitted infection testing, HIV treatment, immunizations, group programs and counselling.

Renovations at the centre are expected to be completed in the fall. The centre has been been operating since 1969.