Expanded HIV Testing Recommended as Clusters Grow

Let's talk about sex, shall we?

Specifically, let's talk about what you can do as a physician to help stop 16 rapidly growing clusters of HIV infection in Texas.

That's right. In case you missed this health advisory from the Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS), genetically similar types of HIV have been identified in 16 geographic clusters, largely centered in Houston, San Antonio, and the Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex. However, many of these clusters include one or more people who live in other parts of the state, and cases are spread across more than 25 counties.

The clusters are primarily made up of gay men or men who have sex with other men, many of whom are meeting through social media, DSHS said. But, of course, these are not the only groups at risk, and it is likely that additional cases and clusters may arise.

So what should you do?

Well, the health department requests the following:

  • Order HIV testing for patients with symptoms of possible acute HIV infection.
  • Order NAAT or HIV RNA testing for patients with an indeterminate supplemental HIV test result.
  • Order HIV testing for all patients diagnosed with a sexually transmitted disease (STD).
  • Ensure all HIV testing follows CDC's HIV/AIDS Laboratory Testing Guidance.
  • Discuss pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) with HIV-negative patients at increased risk of infection. (Read "A Preemptive Weapon" from the November 2016 issue of Texas Medicine for more on PrEP.) 

For more information, call the DSHS HIV/STD Program at (512) 533-3000 or the National Clinicians Consultation Network at (800) 933-3413.

Action, Sept. 1, 2017

Last Updated On

September 01, 2017