Finding health care doesn’t have to be confusing. You can begin to take part in the decisions regarding your healthcare during adolescence, and gradually assume responsibility for those decisions as a young adult. The more you educate yourself, the better off you will be!
Referring teens to clinics
If a teen is sexually active, or considering becoming sexually active, they should see a healthcare professional. Healthcare providers are a trusted, reliable source of information to educate teens regarding their sexual health, including the risks involved in sexual activity and the use of contraception. Early detection of STDs is essential for reproductive health and another important reason for sexually active teens to visit a healthcare provider.
The American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology recommends that a teen establish a relationship with a gynecologist before the age of 16, or earlier if they experience problems with menstrual cycles or have other concerns. All women should see a gynecological healthcare provider by the time they are 21 years old, even if they are not sexually active.
Scheduling an appointment
Teens can receive an appointment within 48 hours at University Health System Clinics (210-358-TALK). When a teen calls the clinic they should say “I am a Teen.” Some other clinics have special teen hours. Most clinics are required by Texas Law to have permission from your parents to receive services, especially for insurance purposes. Ask on the phone what you should bring to the clinic with you. Some clinics require ID and paycheck stubs from the teen or parents.
What to expect?
The clinic visit is similar to other doctor visits. The visit could include some, but not necessarily all of the following: counseling with a healthcare provider, a urine test, blood test, swab of urethra or cervix, contraceptive counseling and dispensing of contraceptives. Check-in at the front desk and expect to wait before you meet with various health care providers for consultation and services. Keep in mind that it is not just a walk-in, walk-out. Pick a day when you have an hour to spend at the clinic. Some clinics have special teen hours.
Parental consent is not required for pregnancy testing or testing for STDs. Services received at Title X clinics are also confidential. Most other services require parental permission, especially for insurance purposes.
Low cost services are available in Bexar County. University Health System (UHS) clinics offer low-cost health care, and a downtown San Antonio clinic dedicated to Teen Healthcare where appointments can be made by calling 210-358-TALK (8255). Medicaid or the State Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) may offer free or reduced-fee medical insurance to uninsured teens. Some clinics are funded by Title X government funding dedicated to providing comprehensive family planning, access to contraceptive services, supplies and information. Priorities are given to low-income families.
A teen cannot see a healthcare professional for sexual health services (pregnancy testing, STD testing, etc…) except at Title X clinics without parent/guardian consent. Teens may choose to keep conversations with the health care professional private. There are some clinics where teens may receive free birth control. If a teen discloses a relationship or a fact that presents significant emotional or physical harm the healthcare provider is required to report to Child Protection Services.
Teen Health Clinic
The Teen Health Clinic offers integrative health care for pre-teens, teens, and young adults ages 10-24.
University Health System
Robert B. Green Campus
Clinical Pavilion, 4th Floor
903 W. Martin, San Antonio, TX 78207
Phone: 210-358-TALK (8255)
Need a clinic closer to you?
Check out our list of clinics that offer health services for teens