The Texas state health department has elected not to renew a nearly 30-year contract providing HIV prevention funds to Planned Parenthood Gulf Coast, according to a press release from the organization.
The contract — which totaled $618,227 in 2015 — is provided by the CDC to the state health department for HIV testing and outreach services, according to a state health department spokeswoman. Since Planned Parenthood Gulf Coast’s HIV program was established in 1988, it has conducted 138,000 HIV tests and identified 1,182 people with infection in several affected counties, the organization wrote.
“For nearly 3 decades, the state provided funding for our excellent community outreach, prevention and education that included providing thousands with free testing,” Melaney A. Linton, president and CEO of Planned Parenthood Gulf Coast, said in the release. “All these years, our HIV team has done amazing and admirable work, and it is devastating that [Planned Parenthood Gulf Coast] will no longer be able to do this work out in the community.”
The organization wrote that the decision follows in the wake of “repeated political attacks against women’s health and Planned Parenthood” that hamper preventive health care and safe abortion services. Although they elected not to extend the longstanding contract, the state health department said these funds will continue to support the same HIV prevention and care services, but through local health departments as opposed to the Planned Parenthood Gulf Coast program.
“The array of HIV prevention services ranging from health education to outreach to testing is unchanged,” Carrie C. Williams, director of media relations for the Texas Department of State Health Services, told Infectious Disease News. “Those services will be delivered to communities across Texas — including the Harris County area — as they have in the past.”