Texans are agog over a recent study that shows an increase in the spread of HIV, AIDS and sexually transmitted diseases among teenagers.

The study, conducted in Dallas County, showed that 25 percent of DISD students who are sexually active do not take measures to prevent pregnancy, compared with about 13 percent nationally.

The news prompted the Dallas County Health and Services Director to urge public school districts to consider giving condoms to students, which in turn, prompted more agogging from the peanut gallery.

No one, it seems, can agree on much of anything. Responses run the gamut from nervous twitching and hand-wringing to "hallelujahs" and sighs of relief.

We don't know what to do about all these testy kids having all this sex. The only thing for certain is that they're doing it.

Yes, It. And lots of It.

It's not easy to talk about such things with your kids. Harder still is handing them a wrapper and saying, "Now scoot."

For many, passing out condoms like candy to teenagers seems to be giving them permission to do what we all prefer they not do until they are married.

But reality can be an ugly thing sometimes and the ugly truth is we have to assume that our kids might engage in pre-marital sex, similar to what generations before us have done. (World War II boys and girls weren't just holding hands during furlough.)

Parents know how uncomfortable this is. I have three kids of my own - two boys in college and a daughter who is now driving and ditched her Easy Bake Oven years ago.

I admit to missing the days when I tripped over Legos and Tonka Trucks and sometimes wish for simpler times.

But the fact is they grow up, and they often make decisions that are not well planned or thought out. And those spur-of-the-moment decisions can wreck a young person's life. In case you missed the memo, teen pregnancy, HIV and sexually transmitted diseases are serious business.

So what now?

Do we toss our pig-tailed babes and scruffy-bearded boys a condom and teach them how to use it or do we keep preaching abstinence? This country has spent about $1.5 billion on abstinence-only programs, which are clearly not working.

We have to assume that telling our kids to "wait" might not always work, in which case, Plan B should kick in - and perhaps Plan B involves making condoms readily available for teens who choose to be sexually active so they can protect their health and future.

It may not be the perfect solution to a growing problem, but it's at least worth a discussion.

Sara Vanden Berge is the managing editor of the Empire-Tribune. She can be reached at 254-968-2379, ext. 240. Follow her on Twitter @ETeditor.