CDC, SAMSHA Order Changes to Free HIV Testing
WESLACO – Starting this fall, only a certain groups will be able to receive free HIV testing in the Rio Grande Valley.
Dr. Dora Martinez at the Valley AIDS Council said every patient of the clinic would receive free HIV testing in the past.
Martinez said due to orders from the CDC and the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Administration, the policy will be changing soon.
The clinic has been ordered by the state to prioritize the testing for three at risk groups: men who have sex with men, African-American women and IV drug users.
“The only other times that a woman may meet that criteria, because they are considered high risk, is if they have a known HIV positive partner. For example, their husband is HIV positive, etc. – then they can still come in. But if they don’t meet those criteria, it means we can’t offer the test. It does mean we don’t want to, but we can’t use those funds to do the test,” she said.
Martinez said she and her staff are worried about the effect the new policy will have on Latina women who no longer qualify to receive free testing.
The Valley AIDS Council said they plan to work with people who don’t fall into these categories so they can free testing from other organizations.