HIV/STD Prevention Program

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Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) & Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STDs)

The Harris County Public Health  (HCPH) Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) / Sexually Transmitted Disease (STD) Prevention Program provides education, counseling, and testing services to help prevent the spread of HIV and STDs.

HIV and STDs – General Information

The Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) is an infection that passes from one person to another through sexual contact, or contact with infected blood or body fluids. When an individual is infected with HIV, the virus causes serious damage to their immune system, making it easy for them to catch other infections or develop certain kinds of cancer. The most advanced stage of HIV infection is called Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome, or AIDS, and it can be deadly. HIV infection cannot be cured, but now people infected with HIV can take medication and live longer lives if the infection is found early enough.

Besides HIV, there are many other sexually-transmitted diseases (STDs). Some of them can be cured, like gonorrhea, chlamydia, and syphilis. Others cannot be cured, like Hepatitis B, herpes and human papilloma virus (HPV). But all of them can cause serious damage to people’s health and even threaten their lives.

Harris County Public Health offers HIV/STD prevention counseling, testing, and linkage to care services to eligible patients at four Health and Wellness Clinic locations across Harris County. When needed, we refer patients to partner agencies for: 1) Routine medical and social services, 2) HIV risk reduction, and 3) Treatment for patients with HIV/AIDS.

Sex- and needle-sharing partners of patients with HIV should be notified so that they can receive follow-up services. There are two ways to let partners know that they have shared needles or sex with an HIV positive patient: 1) The patient can contact them, or 2) A Disease Intervention Specialist (a worker who is specifically trained and certified to tell people that they may be infected with HIV or other STDs) can notify them without telling them the patient’s name.

To schedule an appointment for a wellness exam, which may include testing for HIV and other STDs, call Harris County Public Health’s Patient Appointment Call Center at (713) 212-6800.

For more information on HIV and STDs:
U.S. Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC) STDs website
CDC HIV website
Texas Department of State Health Services HIV/STD Program