During the month of February, Black History Month, we focus our HIV prevention, intervention and testing on the African American Community. February 7 was National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day, and MCC’s Risk Reduction team spent the day in collaboration with the City of Houston’s Health Department at a testing event at the YWCA on Martin Luther King Boulevard. According to the Department of State Health Services, “Blacks are disproportionately affected by HIV/AIDS in Texas.” The department reports that in 2008, one in 90 persons of African decent, residing in the Houston area, was living with HIV/AIDS.
MCC provides free rapid HIV testing at 401 Branard Street, as well as testing in various neighborhoods throughout Houston and Harris County. Many people don’t get tested because they are afraid of needles and a blood draw. Montrose Counseling Center uses OraSure testing, which is simply a swab inside the mouth. MCC’s Health Education and Risk Reduction teams have been trained to provide pre-test and post-test risk assessment and counseling. Testing is crucial as early diagnosis may get someone with HIV to start treatment and take steps to reduce the chance of transmitting HIV to others.
If you have taken steps towards reducing your risk of HIV infection and are willing to share your story in the hope of inspiring others to do the same, please contact us. We are also available if you’re ready to know your HIV status. To schedule a free HIV test or to speak to someone about contributing to our prevention efforts, please call 713.529.0037.