Valley Aids Clinic Makes Strides For HIV Patients

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The Westbrook clinic in Harlingen joins clinics in Brownsville and McAllen to bring cost free services to an area of over 1.5-million residents of south Texas.
After its recent opening to the public in December, the 17-thousand square foot clinic is aggressively expanding their reach to the community affected by the HIV virus.

“The building is fantastic, we love the building. But it’s what we’re doing here is far more important. We’re saving lives,” says dean hall, valley aids council executive director

According to the valley aids council, the number of patients they have been receiving over the past year has doubled… Earning them national recognition for their results.

“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,” explains Ruben Martinez, valley aids council medical director

Health officials say the advance of medicine has made HIV a controllable rather mortal virus… Medicine costs an average of 2-thousand dollars. However, the doctor believes the greater burden is the discrimination patients go through because of the misconceptions of the illness.

“I think what we don’t understand in the U.S. is that an HIV patient that is diagnosed and is appropriately treated and followed and maintains viral non-detectability. Is going to have a lifespan that is consistent with any other man or woman of their age group that is HIV negative,” says Martinez.

Local non-profit says an important component of treatment at the facility, is a humane one… And something Westbrook is distinguished for.

“The reason why I’m in it is because obviously the people I’ve known who also have been infected and affected and basically I’m giving back, and that’s from the heart,” says Hall.

“I myself don’t really care how a person got infected. The goal is to try to control the replication of the virus, make that person as healthy as possible, keep them healthy and minimize the risk of their transmission of HIV through sexual intercourse,” adds Martinez.

The Westbrook expects to soon introduce dental care as well as a mobile clinic to help treat and diagnose an even greater number of people in the community.

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