Health

Texas May Cut $3 million For HIV Prevention To Fund Abstinence Education

| by Michael Allen

The Republican-controlled Texas House voted on Tuesday to cut $3 million from HIV/STD prevention programs, and spend the funds on the state's Abstinence-Centered Education Program.

TIME notes that the Lone Star state was ranked third in the country for HIV diagnoses in 2013 by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control. Texas also has a high rate of teen pregnancy, but public schools do not have to teach sex education.

State Rep. Stuart Spitzer (R), who added the controversial amendment to the state budget bill, told his fellow lawmakers that he did not have sex until he was married at age 29.

Spitzer added, “What’s good for me is good for a lot of people.”

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However, state Rep. Harold Dutton (D) asked Spitzer if that was the first girl whom he had propositioned, reports the Texas Observer.

Spitzer also told lawmakers that his goal was to make everyone aware that “abstinence is the best way to prevent HIV.”

State Rep. Sylvester Turner (D) countered, "My goal is for everyone to be HIV/AIDS free."

Dr. John Carlo, of AIDS Arms Inc. — an organization that provides HIV medication and testing — told WFAA, "Nearly all the money the state puts into prevention is matched in part by federal dollars. So we could see a cut in services if federal dollars are gone, too."

"We are really ground zero in terms of the new infection rates," Carlo added. "So while this dollar amount may not seem like much at the state level, it could be absolutely critical here in terms of preventing infections."

The state budget must still pass the Texas Senate.

Sources: TIME, Texas Observer, WFAA
Image Credit: Hiroo Yamagata