Tennessee’s adolescents (age 13-19) are disproportionately at risk of HIV infection when compared to other youth and young adults in the United States. Like adolescents age 13-19 in other Southern states, the rate of HIV diagnosis in Tennessee’s young people (12.0 out of 100,000 people) is higher than the national rate (9.1 out of 100,000 people). Since 1999 in the United States, the rate of AIDS diagnosis in youth age 13-19 has increased each year.
Tennessee must do more to protect its youth from the spread of HIV.
Current Tennessee law makes AIDS education optional in Tennessee High Schools in grades 9-12. Good health education cannot remain optional.
The AIDS Education Act (HB0226/SB0732) will require each local board of education in Tennessee to adopt an AIDS education program for its high school students in grades 9-12. The Fiscal Review Committee of the Tennessee General Assembly determined that “any increase in state or local expenditures will be not significant” if this bill becomes law.
Educating Tennessee youth on the risks of HIV infection in high school will reduce health care costs in the State of Tennessee with no significant up front expenditure.
If you live in Tennessee, tell the House Education Subcommittee to vote for HB0226 when it meets on March 23, 2011. Then share this petition with your friends through Facebook, Twitter and email.
- Jonathan Cole, TEP Board Chair