Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) & Sexually Transmitted
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
To schedule an appointment for a wellness exam, which may include testing for
HIV and other STDs, call Harris County Public Health’s
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
Department of State Health Services HIV/STD Program