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 3-county area that stretches from the lower Rio Grande Valley on the US/Mexico border.
VAC is a non-profit HIV service organization that delivers culturally appropriate sexual health and wellness services in South Texas and advocates for the Latinx population at the local, state and national level.
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 and McAllen in 1995.
VAC is the only Ryan White funded agency providing medical care and supportive services for people living with HIV/AIDS in the lower Rio Grande Valley on the US/Mexico border.
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.