Texas and National Black HIV-AIDS Awareness Day
February 7, 2014
Today, Feb. 7 is National Black HIV-AIDS Awareness Day. Our Department of State Health Services says one-third of Texans with HIV-AIDS aren’t receiving treatment—and that’s true for an even larger segment of the African-American population.
Our field team is partnering with groups across the state to make sure Texans affected by HIV-AIDS get they health coverage they need. For HIV-positive people, Texans with AIDS, and communities confronting serious health disparities, access to good health insurance can make a life-or-death difference.
Coverage available under the Affordable Care Act offers both preventive care and treatment that’s crucial in the fight against AIDS. Here’s why:
- Coverage is here for millions of Texans: A Texas Tribune feature this week showed our state has the highest uninsured rate right now. Yet the largest group of uninsured people in Texas—over 1.7 million—already qualifies for not just coverage in the new Health Insurance Marketplace but also financial assistance to get help paying for that coverage. (This doesn’t even include nearly a million more Texans who qualify for fully-paid-for coverage through Medicaid or CHIP.)
- Insurers can’t leave out patients with HIV/AIDS: People who test HIV-positive may have struggled in the past to find insurers to cover them. But now that preexisting conditions are covered, insurance is available regardless of people’s HIV status.
- Coverage means better access to screenings, treatment, and preventive care people need: If a doctor recommends getting a screening for HIV, most plans are now required to fully cover it. And access to treatment is also not just a life-saver for the patient: it’s a proven public health strategy. As our friends at Texas Well and Healthy explain, one of the best ways to reduce the spread of AIDS is to make sure people who need medical care and advice are getting it.
We’re proud to partner this month with groups like Tré Magazine in Houston to get out the word, not just today but all month along about the coverage that’s available for African Americans and all Texans. Here are some ways you can get involved between now and the end of open enrollment in March.
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