Mayor Turner supporting plan to help reduce HIV in Houston

Mayor Sylvester Turner says he is supporting a new plan to help reduce HIV infections in Houston.

Getting rid of HIV in Houston sounds like a lofty goal, but Wednesday afternoon Mayor Sylvester Turner says he supports a plan to cut the number of people living with the disease in half in the next five years.

According to the Houston Health Department, 1 out of every 200 people in Houston has the virus.

The three groups it impacts the most are African Americans, Latinos and the LGBT community. The highest rate is in men ages 15-24.

The new plan was developed by Legacy Community Health, a non-profit clinic that treats HIV.

Mayor Turner spoke in support of it at city hall. He talked about everything from expanding testing and giving more people access to the daily pill that can protect you from getting the virus.

"It is no longer a death sentence, but you have to get access to healthcare and you have to have access to medicine," said Turner.

However, there are obstacles. We talked to a woman living with HIV. She told us there's a lot of people with the virus who don't come forward.

"There's still so many people underground, other folks don't want to talk about it. It's still a secret. (That) should tell us that it's still there," said Venita Ray, who is living with HIV.

Compared to other cities, Houston has made progress. We're ranked 12th for new cases, behind big cities and some smaller ones like Baton Rouge and Jacksonville.

As for the funding for this five year plan, the Mayor says there will not be any money coming from the city right now. Leaving the financial backing to grants and non-profit organizations.


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