Fort Bend County recently received federal assistance it can use to bolster the public’s reproductive health.
County Judge KP George announced Nov. 26 that Fort Bend has received a $1.75 million grant from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) through the Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS). The grant is for HIV and STD prevention services and pre-exposure prophylaxis.
The county has possessed an HIV risk reduction grant for several years, according to George, but it was missing the opportunity to provide preventative medication for the diseases. The county said the most recent grant, which it applied for in April, will provide those chances as well as educate and encourage clinicians in the Fort Bend community to increase their use for those at risk of HIV infection.
CDC data shows Fort Bend County had a total of 4,163 chlamydia, gonorrhea and syphilis cases in 2018. Nationally, there were more than 2.45 million cases of those STDs last year.
The grant for Fort Bend County will be provided in separate $350,000 installments over the course of the next five years.
“It is important that everyone who is HIV positive knows it and can take the right steps to protect their health and reduce the risk of spreading the infection to others,” the county said in a statement.
George says the federal grant will also improve access to HIV prevention efforts for communities and groups at highest risk, successfully diagnose HIV/STD infections and increase timely linkage to HIV-related treatment for those who receive positive diagnoses. The county’s core HIV prevention services include community engagement, contraceptive distribution, HIV and STD testing, tailored health education and linkage to care using appropriate referrals.
If residents have questions about eligibility or appointments, they are encouraged to call or text 832-520-6635 to speak to the county’s HIV prevention supervisor.
“By offering this critical service, we hope to encourage vulnerable residents to seek treatment and take control of their health,” George said in a statement.