Department of Public Health Resurrects HIV Prevention Program
The City's Department of Public Health (DPH) has received grant funding to support a newly established HIV Prevention Program.Statistics show that HIV is on the rise in the borderland and the Health Department through its Health Education & Promotion Program hopes to bring awareness to the high-risk population (males who have sex with males, multiple sex partners, and intravenous drug users) in El Paso. Educators are conducting outreach in various areas of the community to educate the public about the risks of unprotected sex and provide free HIV and Syphilis testing services. DPH is obtaining agreements with various organizations and private entertainment businesses in the downtown area to provide outreach at their sites. This allows educators to reach out to the high risk population and make it convenient for this group to receive information that is vital to their health and also makes testing services easily accessible. Irene Ovalle, DPH, Public Health Supervisor says the public needs to be reminded about the severity of this disease. "There is a trend of complacency among our younger population that needs to be changed and programs like this one have been effective in the past. There is a misrepresentation as to the number of HIV positive individuals in our community because people are not being tested for HIV. The Health Department\\\\'s effort is to increase awareness and test as many individuals as possible. Making them aware of the risks and consequences is a step toward clarifying any misconceptions about this disease." Besides the downtown outreach, educators will be available at two clinic locations. Free walk-in clinics are scheduled for Tuesday & Wednesday, every week, at the Public Health Department Preventative Medicine Clinic located at 5115 El Paso Drive, Suite B from 8 to 11 am and 1 to 4 pm. Educators will be at Tillman Center located at 222 S. Campbell each Friday from 1 to 4 pm. For appointments, the public can call (915) 771-5894 or 771-5879 or Health Educators will arrange an outreach session at your establishment.