January 13, 2014
This article was reported by FoxRio2.
FoxRio2 reported that a Texas AIDS clinic aims to bring and keep HIV detectability rates down so infected individuals live normal, healthy lives and cannot transmit the disease to others. The recent opening of Westbrook Clinic's location in Harlingen, Texas, brings the total of Valley AIDS Council's (VAC) cost-free clinics in south Texas to three.
The number of patients seeking care has doubled in the past year, according to VAC, which has garnered them national recognition. Advancements in HIV medication have allowed HIV to become a controllable disease and not a death sentence. "Non-detectability rate -- that is, the percent of patients that are on treatment and are non-detectable -- run in the 30-40 percent. We're running non-detectability rates in the high 60 percentile," said Ruben Martinez, VAC medical director. Martinez explained that when viral loads are non-detectable, people with HIV have the same lifespan as people without HIV.
According to Martinez, the cost of HIV medication averages $2,000, but it is important for patients to take their medication to stay healthy and non-infectious. Other local Texas nonprofit AIDS groups claim that Westbrook distinguishes itself for providing humane treatment to everyone.
Westbrook expects to offer dental care and a mobile clinic in the future to reach and treat more people in the community.