People come to the City of Austin STD Clinic at 15 Waller St., to test for
HIV, the virus that causes AIDS. After drug needle use or having unprotected
sex, they are amazed to test negative. Sometimes they leave the office
promising to fulfill all the deals they made with God to never, never do "it"
again. Why didn't these people contract HIV during risky behavior? The truth is
that HIV is not that easy to get! But there are co-factors that can make it
easier for someone to get HIV. One cofactor is having another sexually
transmitted disease (STD), causing inflamed and irritated sexual organs. Other
STDs are far easier to catch than HIV and are transmitted the same way, and
many people can have them without knowing it, much like HIV. Symptoms might
include cramping, discharge, sores, or no symptoms at all, especially in women.
Gonorrhea, chlamydia, and HPV (genital warts) are the three most common STDs
seen at the clinic. Most STDs are easily treated with antibiotics. These
diseases can be transmitted orally as well as vaginally and anally. While HIV
is not usually transmitted orally, already having another STD can increase the
chances. What to do? Getting a checkup for STDs is simple and readily
available, but not all doctors do an assessment during an annual exam. Be sure
to ask for it. Or visit the City of Austin STD Clinic, where you can get a
completely confidential exam, including HIV test, for just $10. Located at 15
Waller St., at I-35 and Town Lake, the clinic's hours are Mon-Fri, 9am-6pm.
Call 469-3200 for an appointment.
-- Alex Fisher, Health Educator