Texans in San Antonio and Austin have greater access to sexual health and wellness thanks to two newly opened HIV clinics, one in each of those cities.
The San Antonio AIDS Foundation (SAAF) opened the Care Clinic, the first outpatient HIV care center on the city’s East Side. The site includes a full-service pharmacy and offers a range of services to HIV-positive clients, including mental health counseling and a department to help clients navigate copays and insurance coverage. In Bexar County, home to San Antonio, about 5,400 people have been diagnosed with HIV; 85 percent are male and 60 percent are Latino. When the Care Clinic opened, it included a Dia de los Muertos (Day of the Dead) altar in observance of the Mexican holiday. A remembrance to local residents lost to the epidemic, the altar was such a hit that it remained up until World AIDS Day and may return this year.
Meanwhile, Texas Health Action, a nonprofit focused on sexual health, opened the Kind Clinic in Austin. The clinic’s goal is to treat and prevent sexually transmitted infections (STIs), including HIV. As such, it’s the first nonprofit in Central Texas to offer pre- and post-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP and PEP) at little to no cost. The clinic provides instant lab results to determine healthy liver function so that clients can get a prescription for PrEP the same day of their visit. What’s more, the clinic provides gender-affirming care plus access to hormone replacement therapy. In fact, 40 percent of the clinic’s transgender and gender-nonbinary clients are taking PrEP.