Eliminating the stigma begins with knowing your status.
By Barrett White
Today, health care providers throughout the nation are highlighting the importance of HIV prevention and the end of HIV stigma. On average, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates there are nearly 40,000 new HIV transmissions every year, with the highest rates found in the South—and of major cities in the South, Houston nears the top of the list for new infections.
In the most recent HIV surveillance report from the Texas Department of State Health Services, Harris County has the most new HIV diagnoses statewide during the first six months of last year. More than 40% of all new diagnoses in Harris County are in the African-American community, according to 2018 data from the Houston Health Department. More than 32,000 people in the county are living with HIV.
“The focus is on eliminating stigma,” says Amy Leonard, VP of Public Health at Legacy. “The more we can do away with stigma, the more comfortable people will be with getting tested. Get tested proudly. Know your status proudly.”
With the Legacy Montrose pilot program PrEP Rx, a patient can enter the clinic and bypass check-in, move directly to the pharmacy, and be tested for HIV. Upon a negative diagnosis, the patient is streamlined into preventative care. Should the test prove positive, the patient is immediately moved into treatment to bring down their viral load. Both outcomes ensure that the chance of spreading the virus is minimal.
Legacy is committed to ending the HIV epidemic in Houston through health education across the communities we serve, legislative and grassroots efforts to educate our communities, and discussing the virus with thought leaders like the CDC, as we did during the National HIV Prevention Conference this year .
The key takeaway here is that knowing your status and prevention are key to ending HIV. So do your part and get tested with Legacy today. It’s free.