COVID-19 Health ADVISORY

The San Antonio Metropolitan Health District has opened a COVID-19 hotline for residents to ask questions about the virus. The hotline is available in English and Spanish.

Currently there are no community cases in Bexar County or the City of San Antonio. The only confirmed cases are individuals who were brought to Lackland Air Force base under a federally mandated quarantine, and those individuals have been in isolation for treatment. Therefore, the risk of infection remains low.

Six practical COVID-19 prevention tips:

The best way to prevent infection is to take precautions to avoid exposure to this virus, which are similar to the precautions you take to avoid the flu. CDC always recommends these everyday actions to help prevent the spread of respiratory viruses, including:

  1. Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
  2. Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
  3. Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  4. Stay home when you are sick.
  5. Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
  6. Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.

What to know about COVID-19 testing:

  1. If you are feeling sick, call your primary care physician’s office before going in.
  2. If you do not have a primary care physician, visit any urgent care or walk-in clinic in the community, but remember to call ahead before your visit.
  3. Community physicians and other clinical providers have access to CDC protocols to determine whether or not patients qualify for COVID-19 testing.
  4. Local testing for COVID-19 is currently available only by sending samples to the CDC, in coordination with Metro Health and the CDC.
  5. People who do not have CDC-defined symptoms and exposure history will not be offered testing for COVID-19.
  6. If you need additional information call the Metro Health hotline at 210-207-5779. (Monday-Friday 8:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.)

City of San Antonio COVID-19 Vulnerable Populations- Downloadable Letter

Pride Community Clinic

Pride Community Clinic Opens Its Doors

A new local clinic fills the gap in healthcare access for underinsured and uninsured members of
the San Antonio LGBTQ community

Students in orange scrubs and white coats scurry between clinic rooms in preparation for the first patient of the night while faculty rehearse the clinic protocol with new trainees. The first patient arrives at the Alamo Area Resource Center’s Health Equity Clinic building, located downtown. The Health Equity Clinic serves insured LGBTQ patients by day, but one evening a month it houses the Pride Community Clinic. After students greet the patient and confirm their appointment, they are welcomed and given a brief run-down on the nature of the clinic.

“The Pride Community Clinic is a Student-Faculty Collaborative Practice meant to provide access to healthcare for self-identified members of the LGBTQ community”, states one student leader. The name, Student-Faculty Collaborative Practice (SFCP), is a reference to a program within the Center for Medical Humanities and Ethics (CMHE) of UT Health San Antonio. Students in medicine and nursing, under the constant supervision of faculty, work together to provide care free of charge to underserved LGBTQ residents of Bexar County. For years, other SFCPs such as the San Antonio Refugee Clinic have been lauded for their success at directly serving at-risk communities such as refugees, people experiencing homelessness, and women recovering from addiction.

The idea to begin an LGBTQ-focused clinic began years ago when students at the Long School of Medicine within UTHSA saw a need in the local LGBTQ community. As in most cities, a substantial percentage of homeless youth in San Antonio identify themselves as LGBTQ. In addition, local access to hormone replacement therapy for uninsured or underinsured transgender individuals is very limited. To further quantify the need for an LGBTQ-oriented clinic, medical students conducted a community needs assessment in the form of a survey, discovering that most participants were not satisfied with their healthcare coverage and many were not adequately tested for STIs. Further, most LGBTQ people did not share their sexual histories with their PCP and the vast majority stated that they would be more likely to go to an openly LGBTQ- friendly healthcare provider.

Around the same time, the Alamo Area Resource Center (AARC), an organization devoted to providing resources for LGBTQ individuals and individuals at-risk for HIV, opened a new Health Equity Clinic for insured LGBTQ patients. When UT Health San Antonio students started the search for a clinic space, the leaders at AARC graciously offered their clinic space to house the new Pride Community Clinic. Through the hard work of the CMHE, its medical and nursing student leaders, and leaders at AARC, a collaboration was born. The Pride Community Clinic (PCC) will provide essential primary care to the local community, including sexually transmitted infection screenings, hormone replacement therapy for transgender patients, and HIV Pre- Exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP). Linkages to vital mental health, sexual health, and substance abuse services are also available.

The PCC currently operates one Wednesday evening per month between 5:00 pm and 8:00 pm and potential patients must make an appointment over the phone to secure one of the limited time slots. LGBTQ patients can be assured that all volunteers within the clinic are trained to be sensitive to LGBTQ issues and anyone 18 years of age or older can schedule an appointment. Those interested in the PCC can find out more on the AARC website: https://www.aarcsa.com/pride-community-clinic/

Elton John Aids Foundation Press Release

The Alamo Area Resource Center (AARC) is pleased to announce the opening of its Lesbian, Gay Bisexual, and Transgender (LGBT) Health Equity Clinic in San Antonio, the first non-profit clinic for LGBT health services in South Texas, funded by the Elton John AIDS Foundation (EJAF).

Throughout its 27 year history, AARC has sought to provide innovative and timely services to a broad spectrum of the San Antonio and South Texas community. In the past ten years, AARC has been a recipient of four Special Projects of National Significance (SPNS) grants, and has set the standard for providing the “single point of care” services model, highlighting co-located programs linked by transportation. This model has proven effective in reducing those who drop of out care and increased medical adherence for our clients to a record rate in San Antonio and has been recognized nationally by the Health Services and Resources Administration (HRSA). AARC will begin accepting new patients beginning July 5th, 2016.

With the combined vision of AARC, the LGBT Health Equity Clinic, and the Elton John AIDS Foundation, AARC has reached another milestone on the way to delivering comprehensive, culturally sensitive and compassionate services to the LGBT community in San Antonio. For more information, contact Howard Rogers, Executive Director – 210-625-7200.

AARC Fellowships

In recognition of World AIDS Day, Thursday, December 1st, 2016, the Alamo Area Resource Center (AARC) is pleased to announce three university student fellowships at its newly opened LGBT Health Equity Clinic. These fellowships will be awarded to students pursuing degrees in the field of nursing, medicine and social work. With these fellowships, AARC seeks to encourage and support those hoping to serve others in their respective professions, while investing in students who are proven leaders in their academic achievements. Each of the three AARC Health Equity Fellowships will begin in early 2017, and provide $5000.00 to three university students per semester to work on-site at the clinic with skilled professionals to mentor and assist them with real time experience in a medical and social services environment. AARC announces these fellowships in honor of three individuals who have profoundly impacted the lives of others through tireless public service and volunteerism that exceeded all expectations. We are pleased to honor three selfless spirits for their years of service to others.

The Janice Janell Teague Nursing Fellowship is named for a tireless advocate of health care who provided care for some of the first diagnosed AIDS patients in rural Texas beginning in 1989. Janice later began treating elderly and indigent patients in rural Texas, many times traveling miles to those unable to travel or to access care. Her visits often included food she had prepared herself for her patients, and the stories of Janice helping others are legendary to all who knew her. She volunteered with countless non-profit organizations, including serving as the first nurse for Jennifer’s Camp, a summer camp program for children living with HIV held annually in the Texas hill country. Janice was diagnosed with metastatic breast cancer in 2013, and died at her home in the Texas hill country on April 9, 2015.

The James Randy Hinkle Fellowship commemorates the life of the late James Randy Hinkle, an AARC employee who served as Director of Programs at the agency for 23 years. Randy was born in Morgantown, West Virginia in 1960, and would later serve in the U.S. Air Force as an administration support specialist. Randy was a quiet force behind the success of AARC as a leader in innovative HIV social services, assisting in developing new programs from the first HIV scattered site housing program funded by the Levi Strauss Foundation to being on the core team that developed the “single point of care” model for those living with HIV. The AARC model is now recognized nationally as an effective combination of medical and social services housed within one primary care location. Randy Hinkle died on February 15, 2013 after a twelve month struggle with cancer.

The Linda Kay Kehl Fellowship honors the extraordinary life work of an amazing woman and tireless advocate for all men, women and children living with HIV in San Antonio. In the early years of the AIDS pandemic, Linda Kehl began volunteering with the Alamo Area Resource Center, baking desserts for clients having meals on site at the agency. Linda became known as “the dessert lady” and became a much loved figure to many young men in the early days of the AIDS epidemic. For Linda, many clients became family to her and each loss impacted her tremendously. During that period, AARC services included hot meals on site at the agency’s downtown location. Linda would later serve on the AARC board of directors through its evolution into a nationally recognized social services agency for HIV care. Under her leadership, AARC expanded all its programs and added housing, transportation and medical care to an array of existing services. Linda now serves as the first Board Chair Emeritus, in acknowledgment of her ongoing, tireless commitment to AARC and all humanitarian causes.