El Paso has seen a spike in HIV cases reported, and it has City officials worried.

There were almost 4,400 cases newly diagnosed HIV cases in Texas in 2017, and 133 of those were in El Paso. That increase represents a 30% increase in HIV cases. That increase might be because there are more people getting tested and therefore finding out that they have HIV, but it could also be because the population is getting lax about practicing safe sex.

Officials with the HIV Prevention Program say the increase in reported HIV cases in El Paso could also correspond to the particular problems that many Latinos face when it comes to the deadly disease. They say Latinos don't always have access to healthcare or HIV testing, there are sometimes language barriers even if Latinos seek help, there are issues with being under-insured or not having insurance at all, and illegal immigrants may not seek medical help because of their immigration status. There is also the stigma of talking about sexuality with family and friends, and a hesitation to reach out for medical help.

El Paso's Public Health Department is working on raising awareness about the specific issues that Latinos face when it comes to HIV by teaming up with the HIV Prevention Program to offer free and confidential rapid HIV Testing today.

The HIV Prevention Program located at 701 Montana Avenue. The testing times are 8 a.m. – 11:30 a.m. and 1 p.m. – 8 p.m. The important thing is the test is free and confidential. Take care of your health by taking advantage of this free test today. If you want to find out more about other services offered by the El Paso Public Health Department, click here for their website.