Texans in San Antonio and Austin have more access to sexual health and wellness thanks to a new HIV clinic that opened in each city.

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. The Care Clinic is operated with an arrangement with UT Health San Antonio, part of the University of Texas system.

SAAF CEO Cynthia Nelson at the opening of the Care Clinic in San Antonio

SAAF CEO Cynthia Nelson at the opening of the Care Clinic in San AntonioCourtesy of SAAF

“The Care Clinic is a dream come true for us,” SAAF CEO Cynthia Nelson said in a press release. “It is a vital part of our evolution as an HIV/AIDS service organization as we grow and change to meet the needs and realities of HIV treatment in the 21st century. With fewer and fewer people dying of AIDS and more and more living long, productive lives while they manage a chronic disease, this clinic will enable SAAF to remain a turn-key organization: from testing and diagnosis to actual medical care, case management, health care referrals, mental health counseling and so much more.”

At the center of the clinic is a Dia de los Muertos (Day of the Dead) altar that was set up in observance of the Mexican holiday, reports My San Antonio. A remembrance to local residents lost to the epidemic, the altar will be on display until World AIDS Day, December 1.

WE NEED YOUR HELP! ____________________________ To honor our loved ones who have passed away in the fight against HIV/AIDS, we will turn our former nurse’s station into an altar to celebrate “Dia de los Muertos.” We ask the community to lend us pictures of those we’ve lost, as well as marigolds, pan dulce, pan de muerto, and any decorative items such as papel picado, calaveras, flowers and craft supplies. Bring them to our office at 818 E. Grayson Street. The altar goes up November 1 and will be taken down after our World AIDS Day event December 1. All items will be ready for return to owners beginning December 2. For more information, contact SAAF’s Director of Development Janeli Saucedo-Castrejana at 210-225-4175, ext. 132 or jsaucedo@sanantonioaids.org.

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Most recent data show that 5,400 people have been diagnosed with HIV in Bexar County, home to San Antonio; 60 percent are Latino, and 85 percent are male.

In Austin, the Kind Clinic is a program of Texas Health Action. That clinic specializes in sexual health and wellness for the city’s LGBT population and its allies. It offers HIV prevention such as pre- and post-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP and PEP) as well as behavioral counseling and testing for HIV and sexually transmitted infections (STIs), plus hormone replacement therapy for transgender clients.

Cynthia Brinson, MD, medical director at the Kind Clinic, who is interviewed in the Fox 7 Austin video above, notes that the clinic provides access to HIV prevention medication at little to no cost.

“Austin has a very high HIV rate and a very high risk for people in Austin to contract HIV, especially if one doesn’t know the status of your partner,” she added. When noting the promise of PrEP and HIV testing and treatment, Brinson said: “Just imagine what we can do here. We can really change the face of HIV in Austin and finish this fight.”

Our ribbon cutting was just the beginning for what we’re doing for LGBTQ people in Austin!

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New volunteer pins! Be fashionable while helping your community. Link in profile. #bekind

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