Sexually Transmitted Infections (STI) & HIV

NOTE: Have you received a letter or phone call from us? Call 210-207-8830 immediately.

STI Information

STIs are also known as sexually-transmitted infections. If you think you may have been exposed to an STI, you will need to see a healthcare provider.

Common STIs

Acquired Immuno Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS)
AIDS is the final stage of HIV infection. It can take years for a person infected with HIV, even without treatment, to reach this stage.

Having AIDS means that the virus has weakened the immune system to the point at which the body has a difficult time fighting infections. When someone has one or more of a group of infections and a low number of T cells, he or she has AIDS.

For more information, view the CDC's questions and answers on HIV science.
Chlamydia is a bacterial infection and is the most frequently reported STI. It is highest in those sexually active individuals ages 25 and under.

Chlamydia is spread by having sexual contact with an infected partner. You can not catch Chlamydia from towels, toilet seats or sheets.

Some symptoms of Chlamydia are a yellowish thick discharge, itching and burning.
Gonorrhea is the second most commonly reported bacterial STI.

Among women, several infections of gonorrhea do not produce recognizable symptoms until serious complications occur. Because of this, it is important for sexually active women to be screened for STIs. Gonorrhea is easily detected in males and is sometimes referred to as "the clap" or "drip."

Some symptoms of gonorrhea are yellowish/green discharge, dripping, and odor.
Herpes Simplex Virus (HSV)
Herpes is an infection caused by the HSV. It can cause sores around the mouth (oral herpes) and around the genitalia. Herpes is very common and is spread by direct skin to skin contact. Genital herpes is almost always spread through sexual contact.

Up to 50% of first time cases of genital herpes are caused by HSV-1. Recurrences or outbreaks are much less frequent for genital HSV-1 than HSV-2 infections. There is no cure for herpes, but you can consult your physician regarding medication.

If you want to avoid genital herpes do not have sexual contact of any kind during an outbreak. You can use a condom between outbreaks. However, condoms do not provide 100% protection but they are the best available form of prevention for people who are sexually active.
Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV)
HIV is the virus that causes AIDS. HIV attacks the immune system, which provides our bodies the ability to fight infections. HIV finds and destroys a type of white blood cell (T cells or CD4 cells) that the immune system must have to fight disease.

HIV can be transmitted through blood and bodily fluids through such activities as sexual intercourse or drug injection use.
Human Papillomavirus (HPV)
HPV or warts, are genital warts that may appear to be red, pink or dirty gray in color.  There are 100 types of HPV and more than 30 types can infect the genital area. Most infections in these areas are types 6 and 11. Types 16, 18, 31, 33, and 35 are associated with cervical cancer neoplasia. (These types are thought to lead to cervical cancer.) Only DNA or RNA testing can detect what type of HPV with which a person may be infected.

Many men and women who have HPV do not have symptoms. There is no cure for HPV. However, warts can be treated with external medication, freezing or laser therapy, or can be surgically removed by a physician. To prevent warts, as with all other STIs, you should not have sex. Vaginal, oral, and anal sex can pass the infection from one person to another. You are safest if you have only one sex partner who is not infected and they only have sex with you.

It is best to also use latex condoms. When used correctly, condoms can help prevent you from getting HPV. It is a good practice for women to have an annual pap smear done by your physician or go to a Family Planning clinic.
Syphilis is caused by the bacterium Treponema pallidum. It has often been called "the great imitator" because so many of the signs and symptoms are indistinguishable from those of other diseases.

The first stage of syphilis is a single painless sore at the site of infection. Sores occur mainly on the external genitals, vagina, anus, or in the rectum. Sores also can occur on the lips and in the mouth.

Syphilis is passed from person to person through direct contact with a syphilis sore. Transmission of the organism occurs during vaginal, anal, or oral sex. Pregnant women with the disease can pass it to the babies they are carrying. Syphilis cannot be spread through contact with toilet seats, doorknobs, swimming pools, hot tubs, bathtubs, shared clothing, or eating utensils.

Syphilis has two other stages, secondary and latent. Secondary syphilis symptoms typically begin with the development of a rash on one or more areas of the body. Late stages of syphilis, may damage internal organs, including the brain, nerves, eyes, heart, blood vessels, liver, bones, and joints.

If you have any of these symptoms, you should go to your doctor or local health department right away. Bicillin is the preferred treatment of choice for all stages of syphilis.

For further information, see the CDC's syphilis fact sheet.
Trichomoniasis also known as "trick," this is a parasite (single-celled protozoan) that affects both men and women. Some people who are infected might not have symptoms. Some people have a yellow-green discharge with irritation and a strong "fishy" odor.

If you feel that you may have this disease, please contact your doctor or come to your local health department.

HIV Prevention

Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP)

PrEP is when people at very high risk for HIV take HIV medicines daily to lower their chances of getting infected. A combination of two HIV medicines (tenofovir and emtricitabine), sold under the name Truvada®, is approved for daily use as PrEP to help prevent an HIV-negative person from getting HIV from a sexual or injection-drug-using partner who's positive.

Studies have shown that PrEP is highly effective for preventing HIV if it is used as prescribed. PrEP is much less effective when it is not taken consistently.

Reduce Your Risk

For those at very high risk for HIV, PrEP can significantly reduce your risk of HIV infection if taken daily. Daily PrEP use can lower the risk of getting HIV from sex by more than 90% and from injection drug use by more than 70%. You can combine additional strategies with PrEP to reduce your risk even further.

How PrEP Works

PrEP does not work the same way as a vaccine. A vaccine teaches your body to fight off infection for several years. For PrEP, you take a pill every day by mouth. If you take PrEP daily, the presence of the medicine in your bloodstream can often stop HIV from taking hold and spreading in your body. If you do not take PrEP every day, there may not be enough medicine in your bloodstream to block the virus.

Join Our Program

A PrEP patient will be evaluated by a nurse practitioner, have labs drawn in the clinic and will speak to a PrEP Navigator. The PrEP Navigator will counsel the patient on PrEP, discuss risk reduction steps and provide an insurance and financial overview.

Please call 210-207-7292 for appointment scheduling or inquires. We accept walk-ins. However, making an appointment is highly encouraged.

The PrEP clinic is located inside the STI/HIV clinic on:

512 E. Highland Blvd., Ste. 150
San Antonio, TX 78210

Regardless of your financial situation, our PrEP team will find a way to help. Please call us if you have financial questions.

Fast Track Cities

In 2017, San Antonio became the first Texas community to join the global Fast-Track Cities Initiative and was later joined by Austin, Houston and Dallas. Fast Track Cities aims to leverage existing HIV programs and resources to strengthen citywide responses by reaching 95-95-95 targets:

  • 95% of people with HIV are diagnosed.
  • 95% of people diagnosed with HIV are being treated.
  • 95% of people being treated for HIV have undetectable viral loads.

In 2021, Bexar County had 332 new HIV diagnoses. In addition to newly diagnosed cases, we have roughly 7,500 people living with HIV (rate: 310.4 per 100,000) in Bexar County.

Fast Track Cities was made possible by an unprecedented collaboration between the following:

  • local HIV/AIDS service organizations
  • San Antonio People's Caucus of consumers living with HIV
  • Bexar County Ryan White Program Administrative Agency
  • Ryan White Planning Council, the Center for Health Care Services
  • San Antonio Metropolitan Health District (Metro Health)
  • local academic institutions with strengths in community based research

This collaboration group is called the End Stigma End HIV Alliance (The Alliance).

We have the tools and medication to end the HIV epidemic right now, and with the help of the San Antonio community, we can do it.

Visit the Alliance website to learn more and join us.