Nacogdoches clinic stays proactive in HIV testing

NACOGDOCHES, TX (KTRE) - About 12 minutes after two vials of blood are drawn from an arm, the man will learn if he has HIV.

"We test you today and you come back HIV positive. How would you feel about that?," said Prevention Specialist Gary Roberts.

A lot to think about in less than 15 minutes.

Angela Tatum has been thinking about it much longer.

"I've been positive for 17 years," said Tatum.

Now, as an outreach worker, Tatum's attitude about the disease has changed since the year before her diagnosis.

"Eighteen years ago I thought I was untouchable. As I said, I live day to day," said Tatum.

Living day to day. Exactly the words the man used in a candid conversation during the 12 minute wait.
"HIV don't care who you are. It's what you do," said Roberts.

About 350 HIV positive clients are served at Health Horizons clinics.
 Far from the entire picture for AIDS in East Texas.

"Another 100 or so are probably spreading the disease. That's the sad part," said Dr. Wilburn Brown, Director for Health Horizons.
One more threat for sexually active teens. They're the ones rarely tested for HIV.

"Once they get a taste for sex, the don't want to stop," said Roberts.

The consequence could be a lifetime on expensive medications.

"Sometimes 1 pill can range from any where from 2-3 thousand dollars a month, just for one pill," said Yulonda Page, Health Horizons Clinic nurse.

The wait for generic HIV medicines continues, while the wait for this man has ended. His 12 minutes are up. His HIV test came back negative....this time.

Health Horizons reached a benchmark recently.

Partnerships with East Texas Community Health Center, Angelina County Citizen Health District and a Livingston doctor allows patients to receive primary care locally.

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