Victoria Advocate (12.26.11) - Friday, January 13, 2012
An estimated 68,000 Texans are living with HIV, up from 63,000
in 2009 and 60,000 in 2008, state health department data show.
Statewide, about one-third of those diagnosed with HIV between
2003 and 2009 were diagnosed late in the course of the
infection, receiving an AIDS diagnosis within a year of
testing HIV-positive, according to the Texas Department of
State Health Services (TDSHS).
The Victoria City-County Health Department saw its caseload
increase in 2010 as well, with data showing 106 HIV patients
treated by the agency, compared to 100 in 2009 and 94 in 2008.
The majority of HIV patients treated by the department in 2010
were male Hispanics ages 45 to 64.
Recently, TDSHS employees conducted screening at an event at
Victoria College. More than 40 people who attended were tested
for chlamydia, syphilis, gonorrhea, and HIV. In addition to
discussing STD risk factors with participants, Larry Botello,
a disease-intervention specialist with TDSHS, spoke about
prevention and contraception. "It's like a carpenter with his
tools," said Botello. "You can have a lot of tools, but if you
don't know how to use them, it's not going to help any."
The screening was sponsored by the Victoria chapter of the
Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender group and Haven, the
college's gay-straight alliance. "The gay community at large
needs to understand they are at high risk," said Fernando
Garcia, chapter vice president.