On Saturday, August 14th Austin will observe Pride weekend, which gives our LGBTQIA+ community the chance to celebrate our progress and to be loud about the journey ahead for full equality. Kind Clinic, a program of Texas Health Action, is a proud sponsor of Austin Pride. However, we are closely monitoring the recent surge in COVID-19 infections and hospitalizations from the highly transmissible Delta variant.
The Difficult Decision Not to March
Risks are part of life. It is up to all of us to make decisions for our own safety and the risks we take. Kind Clinic is considering our risk as an organization and how we celebrate Pride this year. Our top priority is the health and safety of our staff, patients, and clients so we may continue to offer uninterrupted, no-cost sexual health services at every stage of the pandemic. We’ve made the difficult decision not to march in this year’s parade, but we will be loud in our pride and love for our LGBTQIA+ community.
At Kind Clinic, we focus on sexual health which includes conversations about navigating risk. For example, patients taking pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) for HIV prevention are making choices about the prevention tools they want to use and how they will navigate reducing risk for HIV infection. Part of navigating risk includes getting tested for STIs and HIV and being aware of status. We must do the same with COVID-19 and use the prevention tools we can like being fully vaccinated, wearing a mask, physical distancing, hand washing, testing, and minimizing contact.
Austin Pride organizers continue to encourage attendees to wear masks and be vaccinated along with other precautions. We support this message and would encourage anyone attending to wear a mask and be fully vaccinated.
We love our LGBQTIA+ community and hope the community demonstrates love for each other through mask wearing and vaccination. To be frank, our LGQBTIA+ community has suffered a pandemic for the last forty+ years, we can’t afford another.
Austin, we’ll miss you in the streets, but think of us in the sheets. Wear a Mask. Get Vaccinated. Be Kind.
Christopher Hamilton, MPH
CEO, Texas Health Action