Austin Kind Clinic opens to help stop spread of HIV

Sexual health treatment options are more accessible than ever for people living in Austin.

The Kind Clinic opened its doors Friday for the first time.

It's the first non-profit clinic in Central Texas to provide access to a drug that helps prevent HIV infection at little to no cost.

Anyone can visit the clinic, which is located at 40th street and Lamar. It will be open at varying hours Tuesday through Saturday.

The goal of doctors on staff there is to end the spread of HIV infections in Austin by 2020.

“We are offering care to patients who are at extremely high risk in the community of contracting HIV,” said Dr. Cynthia Brinson, medical director at the Kind Clinic.

High risk patients include those with a partner who has the virus, alcohol or drug addicts, those who engage in prostitution and anyone who has contracted a sexually transmitted disease in the past.

Doctors at the clinic pride themselves on treating patients without judgment and with certain lifesaving medications.

“All of our care to the patients is free, so we don't have a charge for our medical care and we don't charge for our labs. We provide all of that care for free and we assist patients to get all the medications to not contract HIV at no cost to them,” Brinson said.

By providing the prescription PrEP medication to high risk patients, doctors at the clinic hope to slow the spread of HIV in Central Texas.

“Austin has been an endemic area for HIV. 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,” said Brinson.

“It's heartbreaking every time you have to tell someone who's 22 or 23 that you have a lifelong illness,” said Joe McAdams, executive director of the Kind Clinic.

Two and a half years ago Dr. Brinson got tired of telling patients they had been diagnosed with HIV so she started operating a clinic out of her office to provide PrEP at little to no cost.

“It's $1800 a month to pay for that medication out of pocket and for uninsured patients, how would you ever do that?” McAdams said.

Since then Brinson has prescribed the medication to about 1,800 people which is how she knew it was time to expand her services and partner with others to open the Kind Clinic.

“So just imagine what we can do here. We can really change the face of HIV in Austin and finish this fight,” said Brinson.

The clinic will also provide care and preventative care for sexually transmitted diseases, hormone replacement therapy for transgender patients and behavioral counseling.