sex education


Between 2005 and 2010, Austin school district saw the number of pregnant students in the district steadily increase. By the end of the 2009 school year, the district identified 400 students who were pregnant or who were already parents. (The district doesn't separate whether or not the student parents are male or female.)

In 2010, AISD partnered with Planned Parenthood and the non-profit Lifeworks to implement a program aimed at preventing teen pregnancy in middle and high schools. 

Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon, KUT News

Texas has one of the highest teen birth rates in the country.  According to a recent study by the Guttmacher Institute, in 2008, Texan teens had 85 pregnancies per 1,000 women 15-19 years old.

And while protests and hearings continue around Senate Bill 1 — the bill that would limit access to abortions in Texas — some Democratic state lawmakers have filed two bills that would make changes to health and sex education.

Human papillomavirus, or HPV, is the most common sexually transmitted disease in the nation. About 75 percent of Americans will contract the virus during their lifetime, and younger populations face the greatest risk.

Research indicates that almost three quarters of new HPV infections occur in people between 15 and 24 years old. But a recent study conducted by researchers at Texas State University found that many college students are unaware of or misinformed about the risks posed by HPV.

Update: The proposal addressing sex education standards has been withdrawn from the Round Rock school board agenda, according to the Austin American-Statesman. It writes that the health advisory committee that recommended the change was improperly assembled. It's uncertain at this time when (or if) the proposal will return for consideration.

Original post (11:57 a.m.): The Round Rock Independent School District’s Board of Education will be meeting tonight and sex education is on the agenda.

The board will discuss an implementation plan to teach students about contraceptives, a break from current "abstinence only" standards.

The discussion started back in August when the board received the School Health Advisory Committee’s annual report that recommended contraceptives be introduced at the eighth-grade level.

The board met again in October. Health professionals provided the board with data that indicated the number of cases of sexually transmitted diseases is increasing in Round Rock, compared with surrounding communities.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Local officials are warning of an increase in HIV infections in Austin’s adolescent population.

“We’ve identified just in the last few months about five newly confirmed HIV cases,” Austin/Travis County Health and Human Services Medical Director Dr. Philip Huang tells KUT News. “By comparison, all of last year in Travis County, we had six cases.”

Dr. Huang couldn’t speak to specific cases, but cited Centers for Diseases Control statistics regarding sexually-active adolescents: some 52 percent of Texas high school students have had sex at least once, and only 54 percent of sexually active students used a condom the last time they had sex.

Photo courtesy of Chris Martino

Two Democratic lawmakers from Austin have filed bills they say would reduce the number of unplanned pregnancies in Texas.  The legislation would extend the state’s Medicaid Women’s Health Program, which provides low-income women with  family planning exams , health screenings, and birth control. 

The program is set to expire this December, and in a press conference this morning, Senator Kirk Watson and Representative Mark Strama said it saves the state $21 million a year by preventing pregnancies.