In the News

POZ MAGAZINE

POZ Magazine featured our recent webinar, Where There’s Smoke There’s Fire: The Impact of Meth on HIV & Latinx Gay & Bi Men & MSM.You can read the article here.

AUSTIN

Waterloo Counseling Center to become a program of Texas Health Action

PRESS RELEASE

AUGUST 24, 2020 – Today, the Austin nonprofit Texas Health Action (THA), announced its new vision to provide affordable, high-quality integrated sexual and behavioral health services in 2021. Waterloo Counseling Center, a local nonprofit provider of counseling services, will become a program of Texas Health Action alongside its established program Kind Clinic, which provides sexual healthcare.

The announcement comes after affirmative votes from both boards of directors. The announcement builds upon an existing partnership that currently offers low-cost mental health counseling from Waterloo Counseling Center for Kind Clinic patients.

Texas Health Action will host virtual town halls for Waterloo Counseling Center clients, Kind Clinic patients and community members on Sept. 14 and 16. The community is invited to ask questions and offer feedback to inform the integration of services.

Local activists founded Waterloo Counseling Center in 1983 to provide mental health services for the LGBTQIA+ community, people living with HIV/AIDS and their loved ones. Services now include counseling for people experiencing trauma, depression or anxiety.

Similarly, Texas Health Action formed after a small team of passionate community members and providers combined forces to open Austin’s first clinic focusing on the HIV prevention medication known as PrEP (pre-exposure prophylaxis) for LGBTQIA+ people and their allies. That clinic, now known as Kind Clinic, offers sexual health services including access to PrEP, HIV-related care, STI testing and treatment, and gender-affirming care.

Waterloo Counseling Center will retain its name after officially becoming a program of a Texas Health Action and will continue to offer its services from their current location in North Austin or through telehealth appointments. 

To learn more about Texas Health Action’s mission and its other programs, visit TexasHealthAction.org. For more information about counseling services at Waterloo Counseling Center, visit WaterlooCounseling.org.

Image credit: Texas Health Action

BEAUMONT

PRESS RELEASE
Date: November 22, 2019

SmartHealth @Baptist Hospitals of Southeast Texas launches Rapid Start Treatment Program to improve the care of patients’ who are living with HIV.

Beaumont, Texas – SmartHealth provides Rapid Start treatment for individuals who are living with HIV. Previously, those who were diagnosed with HIV waited for as long as three months before they were prescribed medications. Rapid Start allows providers to prescribe medications immediately after an HIV diagnosis. Early initiation of therapy increases our patients’ engagement in care, and decreases their viral load.

The PATH 2.0 model estimated that HIV transmissions in 2016 occurred primarily from people with HIV who did not know their HIV status, or  were diagnosed but are out of care.  Together, these two groups accounted for approximately 80% of new infections. Those who were in care but had not achieved viral suppression accounted for approximately 20% of transmissions. To end the HIV epidemic in the United States, the HHS initiative directs a path forward for success. First, early detection of HIV infection must be improved. Second, once HIV infection is identified, rapid entry into care and prevention services is crucial to ensure achievement of viral suppression as quickly as possible (Li, Purcell, Sansom, Hayes, & Hall, 2019).

The Golden Triangle has approximately 1,300 people who are living with HIV, 761 actively engaged in care, and 611 have achieved viral suppression. Additionally, CDC reports that 1-in-8 individuals is unaware of their HIV status, with 80% of new infections being caused by 20% of those who are unaware of their status, or not retained in care. Approximately 80% of new HIV transmissions are from people who do not know they have HIV or are not engaged in care. Going forward, increasing the percentage of persons with HIV who have achieved viral suppression and do not transmit HIV will be critical for ending the HIV epidemic in the United States.

SmartHealth is a navigated wellness program that provides comprehensive medical care for chronic disease management that includes HIV and Hepatitis C. Our clinical team consists of Board Certified Medical Directors, Nurse Practitioners, Registered Nurses, Licensed Social Workers, and Licensed Vocational Nurses. All services are provided in a judgement-free environment

Reference
Li, Z., Purcell, D. W., Sansom, S. L., Hayes, D., & Hall, H. I. (2019). Vital Signs:HIV Transmission Along the Continuum of Care — United States, 2016. MMWR. Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report68(11), 267–272. doi: 10.15585/mmwr.mm6811e1

DALLAS

International Association of Providers of AIDS Care: Dallas County Expands Texas Fast-Track Network Against HIV

EAST TEXAS

East Texas Launches Achieving Together: The Resource Group has coordinated Achieving Together launches in communities across East Texas. Watch news coverage of the Tyler/Longview launch.

Tyler Morning Telegraph: Health officials, local advocates aim to end HIV epidemic, stigma that surrounds the virus

SAN ANGELO

Amber Contreras, Eligibility Coordinator for Shannon’s Port of Health Services, conducted an interview with a bilingual newspaper about Achieving Together.