Valley AIDS Council (VAC) is the primary provider of HIV prevention, education and testing services and the only Ryan White funded agency providing medical care and supportive services for people living with HIV in the 15-county area that stretches from the lower Rio Grande Valley on the US/Mexico border and up along the Texas Gulf Coast to Corpus Christi.
The Valley AIDS Council dba Westbrook Clinic utilizing a multi-facility system will provide and expand capacity of services to individuals infected with, affected by, or at risk of HIV/AIDS and related co-morbidities. Westbrook Clinic will accomplish this in a Patient Centered Medical Home environment, providing comprehensive HIV/AIDS medical care, medical training, research, medical case management, dental care, social services, education, prevention and outreach, substance abuse services, HIV/STI testing and counseling. Valley AIDS Council is committed to achieving this by employing and empowering professionally competent staff who desire success for the clients, the agency and themselves.
Organizational History and Milestones:
In 1987, health care leaders from the Cameron and Hidalgo County Departments of Health and from Planned Parenthood met with representatives from the Texas Department of Health in response to the growing incidence of HIV/AIDS. That visionary meeting led to the founding of the Valley AIDS Council (VAC), and its growth from a small, collaborative, grassroots response into a comprehensive, multi-site, one-stop, community-based response to the HIV/AIDS pandemic.
In 1988, VAC secured funding to hire its first staff member – an HIV/AIDS community health educator funded by the Texas Department of Health. In 1989, a grant from the Texas Tech University Health Science Center funded a research position that helped secure one of two national grants under Ryan White Part C program funds in 1993.
The agency opened a primary health care outpatient clinic in Harlingen in June 1994, and offices in Brownsville in 1994, McAllen in 1995, and Corpus Christi in 2003.
VAC is the only Ryan White funded agency providing medical care and supportive services for people living with HIV/AIDS in Texas’ Health and Human Services Region 11 and its service area includes Aransas, Bee, Brooks, Cameron, Duval, Hidalgo, Jim Wells, Kenedy, Kleberg, Live Oak, McMullen, Nueces, Refugio, San Patricio and Willacy Counties.
For over 25 years, VAC has offered wraparound services including medical diagnosis, treatment and case management targeting infected populations and HIV prevention and testing targeting those at risk for this disease.
VAC’s work is important to South Texas. By reducing our HIV positive patient’s viral load (the amount of active virus in the blood stream) our patients are now much less likely to infect others. And, by increasing their CD4 count (the amount of cells fighting the infection), they are more likely to stay healthier longer and less likely to acquire opportunistic illnesses.
A study conducted from May through December 2012 of new patients brought into care at VAC has shown a reduction in the average viral load from 45,992 copies to 60 copies, and it showed increases in the average CD4 count from 245 to 383 after six months of treatment.
VAC is proud to provide to the people of South Texas its exceptional medical care, treatment and prevention services.