City of El Paso Epidemiologist recognized by LGBTQ+ Community

Vanessa Casner

Vanessa Casner | Artwork by Vanessa Clark

EL PASO, Texas (KTSM) — City of El Paso Public Health Epidemiologist, Vanessa Casner, has earned a spot on the LGBTQ+ Border Heroes Playing Cards for her LGBTQ+ advocacy and HIV awareness activism.

“I’m honored to be recognized for the work we do at the Department of Public Health (DPH) for our LGBTQ+ community in our efforts to ensure a thriving quality of life for all members of community,” Casner said.

The Borderland Rainbow Center and Diversity and Resiliency Institute of El Paso created the Border Heroes Playing Card Deck Project to honor LGBTQ+ leaders and influencers of the borderland, featuring artwork by borderland artists.

City officials share that the Department of Public Health provides a variety of inclusive health services for the community to include HIV prevention services, including:

  • Education on LGBTQ+ cultural sensitivity training
  • Free HIV, Syphilis and Hepatitis C testing
  • Services for housing assistance for individuals who are HIV positive and experiencing homelessness
  • Free risk reduction counseling for people living with HIV, and individuals at risk of becoming HIV positive
  • Mfactor El Paso, a social networking group for gay/bi and queer-identified men, ages 18-39
  • Community Mobilization, a community planning organization to support and improve HIV prevention and care services in El Paso
  • HIV Support Group
  • The Purple Pages of El Paso, online resource of LGBTQ+ friendly medical providers, social service providers and organizations
  • PrEP Navigation Services, free services to providers and clinics that can prescribe Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP) as well as financial assistance for the medication
  • Condom distribution services
  • Referrals to services

For more information about HIV services, visit and click on the HIV Prevention tab. For more information about the Border Heroes Project visit

For our previous coverage of the LGBTQ+ community, click here.

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