ODESSA---About 26% of all new HIV infections are among teens and young adults ages 13 to 24 years old and affects about 50,000 Americans each year, yet it remains to be a taboo topic.
The University of Texas of the Permian Basin(UTPB) is holding its 2013 Leadership Conference with a kick-off on Wednesday in order to raise awareness on HIV/Aids and teen pregnancy.
"We're tired of our youth making the wrong choice" says UTPB mechanical engineering student, Danny Martinez.
Martinez is the Secretary at UTPB's Black Leadership Council and says that he "likes helping people" so getting involved in the 2013 Leadership Conference is very important to him.
According to the centers for disease control and prevention 1 in 4 people who are diagnosed with HIV is 13-24 years old, a number that's growing every year.
UTPB Sociology Professor, Dr. Joanna Hadjicostandi says that teen pregnancy are even more concerning because the Permian Basin rates "among the highest in the nation".
Martinez says that because HIV/aids and teen pregnancy are major problems here in West Texas, it's important for youth to get educated on the topics.
"The state of Texas ranks among the top 10 for new infections" says UTPB Assistant Biology Professor, Dr. Tracie Gibson who is also involved with the Black Leadership Council.
Dr. Gibson says that the HIV statistics are more relevant to West Texas because of the large minority population.
"The majority of new infection cases are people of minority decent" says Dr. Gibson "sixty percent of the people who are infected are African American, twenty percent are Hispanic/Latino and twenty percent are white".
The Black Leadership Conference starts on Wednesday, February 12th in the UTPB library followed by a youth rally on February 16th.
All are welcome to attend.