Take preventative measures against HIV

As World AIDS Day 2011 approaches, I can’t help but wonder what Texas is doing to decrease alarmingly high rates of HIV/AIDS in youth. Texas has the third highest rate of new cases of HIV/AIDS diagnosed in teenagers, yet our policy-makers aren’t doing much to fix the situation. Education is the most effective tool in preventing the spread of HIV, and only through comprehensive sex education will we begin to see a decrease in rates of infection in young people.

The vast majority of Texas school districts teach failed abstinence-only programs. We need a new path. Most teens do not even remain abstinent until high school graduation. In fact, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, seven out of 10 Texas teens have sex by the age of 19. By denying students medically accurate information, we put them at risk of contracting HIV. Sign the petition to support comprehensive sex education in public schools at http://tfn.org/sexed.

This World AIDS Day more than 250 Longhorns have come together to educate, raise awareness and mobilize UT about HIV. The World AIDS Day Coalition is made up of 12 student organizations, led by the Texas Freedom Network Student Chapter. Together we can make a difference to prevent HIV at UT and around the world.

Mackenzie Massey
President, Texas Freedom Network UT chapter