Fort Bend County has been awarded $1.7 million to battle HIV and help prevent the spread of sexually transmitted diseases.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, through the Texas Department of State Health Services, will provide the federal funding in annual installments of $350,000 over a five-year period.
This funding will allow Fort Bend County Clinical Health Services to offer HIV and STD prevention services and pre-exposure prophylaxis.
“Fort Bend County is a proud recipient of this significant grant award to better the lives of our residents,” said County Judge KP George. “By offering this critical service, we hope to encourage vulnerable residents to seek treatment and take control of their health. Making sure our communities are healthy is a top priority for all Fort Bend County officials.”
The core HIV prevention services include community engagement, contraceptive distribution, HIV and STD testing, tailored health education, and linkage to care using appropriate referrals, George explained.
“This grant will allow Fort Bend County to increase HIV awareness among community leaders, members of the public, and policy makers,” he added. “The 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 grant will fund incentives to encourage at-risk clients to participate in prevention programs. These tangible reinforcements include bus tokens, gift cards, t-shirts, and more, George explained.
“The goal of these incentives is to encourage clients to return for test results, participate in community assessments or focus groups, and to help Clinical Health Services recruit and retain peer volunteers,” George added.
The funding will support Fort Bend County Health and Human Services’ mission of promoting the health and well-being of Fort Bend County residents, he said.
For more information, call or text 832-520-6635 to speak to the HIV prevention supervisor.