HIV cases on the rise in West Texas

HIV cases on the rise in West Texas

MIDLAND-ODESSA, TX (KWES) - The number of HIV cases have increased in West Texas, according to a 2016 report by the Texas Department of State Health Service.

It's can be a tough subject to talk about. But Basin Assistance Services breaks that silence and opens their doors to anyone either curious or concerned about having HIV.

"We want them to not be afraid, we want to let them know there's new medications out that work great and there's no reason to not seek treatment," said Delfina Ponce, Team Leader at Basin Assistance Services.

The Texas Department of State Health Services show in their HIV surveillance report,  Ector County had 6 cases back in 2007, and that number escalated to 23 cases in 2016.

"We have seen an increase in clients, when I first started 15 years ago, we were at 158. Now, we're past if not close to 300 clients," said Ponce.

Ponce said the reason for the increase could be new people moving to the area or just a lack of information out int he community.

In Midland County, that number increased but stayed steady over the years. With 3 cases back in 2007, it stayed at 12 cases in both 2015 and 2016.

"We have it in our community but I haven't seen an increase over the years," said Sal Garcia with the Midland Health Department. "Even back in the boom when we had increases there, we had slight increases but there were other diseases that came up."

Basin Assistance provides several services like medical care, case management, housing programs, counseling, food and transportation services for their clients. Because at the end of the day, it's a step to give a backbone for those with the diagnosis, but in an effort to combat the spread of HIV.

"That's our ultimate goal, for everyone is to have an undetectable viral so that they're healthy and it reduces the risk of them transmitting the virus to somebody else," said Ponce.

Basin Assistance Services recently started offering free HIV testing and they also offer free classes on HIV. To reach out, you can call their office at (432) 580-0713.

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