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CDC HIV/AIDS/Viral Hepatitis/STD/TB Prevention News Update
TEXAS: New Plan Targets HIV/STDs
Brittany Hoover
December 16, 2011
Lubbock Avalanche-Journal (12.08.11) - Friday, December 16,

A new state plan to prevent HIV and other STDs was presented to about 20 health care providers and community advocates on Dec. 8 at the Star Institute in Lubbock. The Texas HIV/STD Prevention Community Planning Group created the document; Ricky Waite, a local member, outlined key aspects of the approach for representatives from Amarillo, Midland-Odessa, El Paso and Lubbock.

The mission is to be "a community plan that speaks to people and provides a guide with recommendations for reducing HIV and STD infection, regardless of funding or lack of it," said Waite.

The region must address issues such as policy, stigma, health care, criminal justice, and education as part of prevention planning, Waite said. "We can no longer just have [testing and treatment] as our only prevention. We have to start looking at �How does this affect HIV prevention?' We have to look at community organizations such as schools . . . [and] stigma, from family and friends to social networks." Incorporating community input, linking prevention to care, and coordinating prevention efforts statewide are goals of the effort, according to Waite. The plan prioritizes outreach to nine population groups at particularly high risk for HIV infection.

Linda Brice, an RN and associate professor at Texas Tech Health Sciences Center, said the presentation was helpful. As founder and director of programs for Teen Straight Talk, a sex education effort aimed at youths and their families, Brice noted the importance of nonprofits working together to share information and contacts. She believes community outreach is one of the answers to Lubbock's problem of high STD/HIV rates. "We've got to be able to reach everybody," she said.