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Paving the foundation in a new revolution in sexual health, Austin’s very own Kind Clinic provides free HIV treatment in the form of a little pill that can prevent the spread of HIV from partner to partner. The Kind Clinic also provides affordable hormone reassignment therapy for Austin’s transgender population.
We talk to Marcus Cruz Sanchez, the clinic’s Director of Communications and Outreach about the clinic’s mission. Click here to listen to the full episode.
What is the history and mission of the Kind Clinic?
Starting about 2 years ago, as the Austin PrEP Access Project, the Kind Clinic came from a need in Austin to prevent HIV. Marcus Cruz Sanchez and a group of people got together to help people gain access to PrEP, a pill that prevents HIV. At the time they didn’t have the tools, but 6 months after the idea they created a navigation program which eventually evolved into their first stand alone clinic.
The mission first started in HIV prevention but now is focused on overall sexual wellness. In March 2017 the clinic started offering gender affirming care to their transgender and gender nonconforming patients. Overall, the clinic is about meeting people where they’re at in life and offering the best care for them at that point.
When did PrEP and PEP start, and what are they?
PrEP stands for pre-exposure prophylaxis and was approved by the FDA in 2012. If it’s taken everyday, PrEP is 99% effective in preventing HIV.
PEP is post-exposure prophylaxis, so they use that if someone believes that they had been exposed to the HIV virus within the past 72 hours. It is a 30 day treatment, and a lot of times those patients opt into PrEP after taking PEP.
How do you get access to PrEP?
Since they’ve been in the new clinic PrEP is much easier to access. Right now, if you make an appointment for PrEP, it’s only about a few weeks wait. You’ll meet with an advocate and undergo same day testing to find out whether the medicine will work for you. After those tests are done and look good, they will leave the clinic with the prescription that day. If insured they can gain help through a co-pay program, and if uninsured the patient will be linked to grants that will help them pay for most if not all of the medicine.
The cost of going to the clinic is free.
The Kind Clinic is aware of the high prices surrounding sexual healthcare and gender healthcare. For example, without insurance, the cost of PrEP is around $1800 a month. But with the clinic’s assistance program patiences can get access to PrEP and PeP free of charge, regardless of their insurance status.
Let’s talk gender care.
Historically, a lot of transgender people have to fight an uphill battle to gain access to the right care to begin transitioning. Thanks to the in form consent that has been developed and adopted by the Kind Clinic, the person is granted all of the information that the clinic has to offer so that they are able to make their own personal decision on what to do with their body.
What motivates you to be a part The Kind Clinic?
After losing family members to the HIV virus, Marcus was inspired to do something about it. Marcus also loves being a part of the LGBTQ community and helping it prosper anyway he can.