Austin has a new and bigger dental clinic for patients living with HIV and AIDS. The new Central Austin location can serve 1,600 patients within a 10-county service area.
Paul Scott, the executive director of AIDS Services of Austin, says an oral health indicator is usually a first sign that something’s going on related to an HIV infection.
"So that’s why dental health care is so critically important because if you’re able to address their dental health needs first, you’re able to help them with other health needs," Scott says. "One reason why we're here as a standalone HIV clinic is because we have the special skills in order to treat people with HIV as well as we provide a full spectrum of services, ranging from dental cleaning all the way up to dental surgery."
AIDS Services of Austin has had a dental clinic, the Jack Sansing Dental Clinic, for more than 20 years, but the space got too small. More than 4,000 people who are HIV positive receive services from this agency.
A large percentage of their patients are at 200 percent of the federal poverty level or below. That’s an annual income of almost $24,000 dollars. Funding for the new clinic comes from the St. David’s and Moody Foundations and Alori Properties.