|State Representative Patricia Smith listens to Outstanding Mature Girlz (OMG) Club member Teanna Lee express her opinion on House Bill 369.|
|State Representative Ted James listens to OMG Club members voice their concerns about the rise in HIV/AIDS and STD's among their peers.|
Baton Rouge, LA – Seven teens from the Outstanding Mature Girlz Club (OMG) met with some of Louisiana’s Legislators on March 29, 2016 for Legislative Awareness Day (LAD) at the Louisiana State Capitol.
In the last two years HIV/AIDS have doubled amongst teens in Louisiana. According to the June 30, 2015 Louisiana HIV, AIDS and Early Syphilis Surveillance Quarterly Report, 25% of all new HIV diagnoses in Louisiana during 2014 occurred among persons 13-24 years old. In the first half of 2015, the report stated that 44% of all early syphilis diagnoses in Louisiana occurred among persons between the ages of 13 and 24. While those numbers are increasing, many law makers wholeheartedly agreed with the young ladies that implementing Sex Ed in public schools may need to be revisited.
OMG Club members Deanna and Teanna Lee met with State Representative Patricia Smith to learn more about House Bill 369 that would mandate sex education in public schools. However, the bill was killed during the 2015 House Education Committee meeting with three representatives voting in favor of the bill, and ten opposing it. “We have to do a little more research, there’s a survey youth can take called Youth Risk Assessment. Young people are being educated with wrong information about sex from their peers, and we have to be sure they are getting the right information,” said Rep. Smith.
The young ladies did not stop there, they also met and spoke with newly elected State Representative Robby Carter, (who succeeded Governor John Bel Edwards) and State Senator Rick Ward III for the first time. Both young ladies asked very tough questions and listened to the representatives’ views on this sensitive subject matter. Senator Ward agreed to schedule a meeting in St. Helena Parish with school administrators and youth to discuss their concerns, and find solutions to put an end to this growing HIV/AID, Syphilis epidemic amongst youth in Louisiana.
“Before I joined the OMG Club I did not realize HIV and AIDS were two different things,” said Deanna Lee.
During their brief meeting with State Representative Edward ‘Ted’ James, both young ladies reemphasized how important it was to learn information from people who were more knowledgeable than their peers. Rep. James reassured the OMG Club that he would definitely speak with his colleagues about this sensitive but very important matter.