SAN ANTONIO – It’s National Public Health Week and a big part of staying healthy is getting the treatment you need.
Sian Elmore, health program manager with the San Antonio Metropolitan Health District gives an update on the Metro Health STD/HIV program, which is open and ready to provide educational services.
How has COVID-19 affected operations and how exactly did it adapt?
“We remained open through the entire pandemic, however, with modifications,” said Elmore. “And so we’re doing temperature checks at the door. We’re asking the protocol questions as it relates to COVID: whether or not someone has traveled or they’ve come in contact with someone who tested positive or they themselves tested positive.”
SA Metro Health had to remove chairs from its external waiting area, allowing only five people in at a time. The group adapted and offered telemedicine, where the clinicians are able to speak with patient prior to seeing them.
“But we have managed to still provide the same level of services and care that we were providing pre-COVID,” Elmore said.
Since the pandemic began, have you seen an increase in STD rates?
“Well, actually, HIV decreased and this is all preliminary data at this point,” Elmore explained. “We do not have the official numbers from this date as of yet. But preliminary data tells us that HIV decreased from 2019 to 2020. However, syphilis did increase, as well as congenital syphilis, quite significantly.”
What’s likely to happen this year as more people get vaccinated?
“The hope is that we would be able to continue to re-engage the community,” said Elmore. “We actually purchased a new unit, a smaller unit, and we did so to be able to navigate the neighborhoods a little bit better and get to those folks who can’t come when we’re somewhere with our larger unit part.”
Due to COVID-19, Metro Health STD clinic hours are listed below until further notice:
- Monday-Thursday 7:45 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
- Friday 7:45 a.m. to 11:30 a.m.
The clinic is located at 512 East Highland.
To learn more about the STD/HIV program with SA Metro Health, call 210-207-8830 or click here.