Peer Educators for HIV Prevention Program
This community-based network focuses on comprehensive health and safety initiatives for HIV prevention. Its mission is to actively promote student-based leadership on healthy and safe lifestyle decisions concerning alcohol use, tobacco use, drug use, high-risk sexual practices and other high risk behaviors.
The issue surrounding the concern HIV/AIDS among Hispanic is seen by how:
- Hispanics/Latinos represent 15.3% of the population, but account for an estimated 17% of new infections.
- The rates of new HIV infections among Hispanic/Latino men is more than double that of white men and the rate of new HIV infections among Hispanic women/Latinas is nearly four times that of white women.
- From 2005 to 2008, estimated HIV diagnoses increased approximately 5% among Hispanics/Latinos.
- In 2010, Latinos accounted for 30% of HIV infections in Texas.
- In 2010, the Rio Grande Valley, where UTB is located, had a reported 3,169 cases of HIV/AIDS.
- In 2008, more than 41% of Latinos were diagnosed with AIDS within a year of testing positive - meaning they didn't become aware of or connected to care for their infection until extremely late in the course of their illness.
- Latinos have higher rates of testing “late” (developing AIDS within one year of a positive HIV test) as opposed to “early” (do not develop AIDS within one year of test).
The program seeks to provide HIV and sexually transmitted infection prevention education, testing and referral services to students with the aim of increasing campus-wide dialogue to support the reduction of risky behaviors, the increase of self-protective skills, testing and risk reduction counseling, and supportive referrals.
The program will devote its resources and activities to:
- Empower students and administrators to voice their opinions and needs to create healthier and safer campus communities.
- Develop and promote resources and health promotion campaigns that support peer education, campus leadership, and activism on health and safety issues.
- Provide on-campus retreats for students to support health and safety life-long strategies.
For more information on how to become a Peer Education Mentor, please contact Student Health Services at (956) 882-3896.