Dallas County led the nation for the highest rate of increase for new Chlamydia and Gonorrhea infections from 2016 to 2017 and is one of 48 counties nationwide with the highest rates of new HIV infections. In response, a number of organizations are teaming up with the Dallas County Health and Human Services department to fight the stigma and impact of HIV in Dallas.
The plan involves identifying those who are at risk and have been effected with HIV, and to get those individuals on proper medication and in touch with the health system. It also means reaching the populations where HIV has an outsized impact, like young black and Latinx communities here in Dallas.
“We realized there’s an especially high rate of HIV among men who have sex with men in Oak Lawn,” said Dr. Deborah Morris-Harris, CMO of Prism Health North Texas via release. “Young black men who have sex with men are particularly at risk: their incidence rate of HIV is 47.2 per 100,000. STI data also revealed that the area is particularly high-risk.”
Prism Health North Texas, the largest local nonprofit serving those living with HIV/AIDS in North Texas, opened a new clinic in Oak Lawn to support the sexual health needs of the community. The clinic will offer PrEP (pre-exposure prophylaxis) health care, which has been shown to be 99 percent effective at preventing the contraction of HIV. The clinic will also offer sexually transmitted infection testing and treatment and behavioral health support for patients.
Earlier this year, Prism Health partnered with Uptown Physicians Group to better provide primary care for those living with or at risk of contracting HIV, and hopes to continue to focus on LGBTQ patients in the region.
The clinic has free Wi-Fi, a café setting, and other lounge areas for patients to wait before being seen, and wants to be quick and convenient for patients seeking care. Light floods in from floor to ceiling windows with the unique waiting room seating. Each chair feels private and is also complete with chargers and tables that would be appropriate for grabbing lunch or working remotely. The clinic also includes a collaborative space like a “boardroom” in the office, which facilitates small group networking and working with community partners.
“The Oak Lawn Center was designed with patients’ needs in mind, namely privacy and efficiency,” said Dr. John Carlo, CEO of Prism Health North Texas via release. “Because PrEP visits must be made more frequently, we want the center to be as patient-friendly and time-efficient as possible.”