Harker Heights, Texas is the third largest city in Bell County, United States. The city’s name was derived from the name of the landowner(Harley Kern). The city is a part of the Killeen-Temple-Fort Hood metropolitan area. Heights as it is referred by the locals was incorporated in 1860, and has since then developed into one of the renown cities in the county.
With a population of more than 26,700 people, the city boasts breathtaking recreational facilities including Stillhouse Hollow lake, Dana Peak Park, Purser Family Park, Harker Heights Community Park, among other sites. Being a modern city, Harker Heights, TX has several top colleges that include the University of Phoenix and Texas A&M University, and both are proud to admit students from all over the world. With all the above esteemed human interaction points and with the revolutionization of interaction, the city has overseen a steep increase in STD infection over the last decade.
Statistics reported is based on publicly available data sources such as CDC for Bell County, TX. Data is normalized to accurately report Bell County STD Breakdown.
Additional STD Test Statistics in Harker Heights, TX
According to a 2016 research, the population estimate for Heights city is 29,000. The population has been rising tremendously over the last five years due to the economic stability the town is edging. With the rate of STDs within the whole nation increasing alarmingly, Heights rate of STD infection has been extra worrisome.
Though it’s a small city, it’s growing very fast and welcomes a substantial number of tourists annually. Along with being a tourist and an academic center, the city is also a residential center for a large population. With the escalating use of social media and social apps, the rates of STD infection has reached an all time high in the city. Chlamydia, Gonorrhea and Syphilis are the most prevalent STD within the city that are mostly scaring the future of the youths and the entire population.
Bell county ranked the second in Gonorrhea infection in 2016 and ranked the third in Chlamydia infection in the same year within the State. Chlamydia has been very severe amongst the females, accounting for more than 70% of the total infections. The black americans race has been greatly hit by chlamydia according to a 2016 CDC report. The age between 14-29 years has been the most adversely affected accounting for more than 80% of the total infections within the county. Chlamydia had the largest number of reported cases within the county in 2016 with a rate of 1089 per 100,000 population.
Gonorrhea is the second most common STD in the county. Ranking the second in terms of infection rates within the state, gonorrhea is posing a great danger to the locals. A recent research showed that the number of males reported cases had little difference from the number of females reported cases. This means that Gonorrhea is equally affecting males as well as females. The race with the most number of infections is the black americans. The research has further identified that males who have sex with other males are more prone to Gonorrhea infection. Gonorrhea has a staggering rate of 413.6 per 100,000 people. The sexually active youth within the age bracket of 14-29 years are the most affected.
Syphilis is the third most common STD in Bell county. Though its reported cases are few, they are increasing at an increasing rate. With the resurgence of congenital syphilis, which is transmitted from mother to an unborn child, there has been fears over the health future of the locals. The three STD rates within the city are:
STD Testing and Sexual Education in Harker Heights, TX
With the increased number of infections in STDs within Heights, the health community has joined hands with the federal government and nonprofit organizations to ensure proper sex education is delivered to the locals.
Since the 1990s all middle and high schools within the city had employed the teaching of abstinence only plan. This instills that it’s only through abstaining from sex that you can prevent STD infection and unwanted pregnancies. Abstaining should be also practiced till marriage. Though the system worked for sometime in the control of the spread of HIV/AIDs, nowadays the system is ineffective. This has led for many people to call for another alternative due to the increasing rates of STD infection within the city.
The abstinence plus system. This is also known as comprehensive sexual education. With comprehensive sexual education, students are taught a variety of issues pertaining sexuality including:
Understanding their bodies physical and emotional changes
Refusal means for sex adventures
Use of condoms
With all the above traits taught in these classes some school stakeholders, parents and non governmental organizations are pushing for the introduction of the abstinence plus system as it equips the youth with the right information for making informed sex decisions. Most schools have already adopted the system in their middle schools from grade 6 through 12.
Outreach programs to sensitize the youth and the general public on the need for sexual education, contraception methods and STD prevention methods have been staged by different organizations within the city. With exhibitions on the right usage of condoms among other prevention tool kits, the locals have easy access to accurate sex information and can make sound sex decisions.
Sexually Transmitted Diseases and Demographics in Harker Heights, TX
The population of Harker Heights has several distribution characteristics. Constituting of more than five races and five religions, the resident’s practices, norms and values differ. These difference in values and practices greatly influences the increase of STD infection within the city.
Social crimes like rape and prostitution is one of the most active factor that has led to increase in STD infection. According to a 2017 survey, there are more than 48 sex offenders living in Heights. This means that in every 580 residents within Heights, there is 1 sex offender. With such high chances of the existence of sex offenders within the city, the rate of STD infection is bound to increase.
Unemployment within the city is another factor that influences the growth of STD infection. With the city’s unemployment rate being higher than the State’s, many youths are idle without jobs. Coupled with poverty which has a rate of 6% within the city, the unemployment rate of 4.8% is a great setback to the city’s fight against STDS. With most of the youths despairing due to the challenge of securing a job and extreme low standards of living, this drives them into drugs and ignorance about their health needs. This greatly increases STD infection within the city.
The city’s rich racial makeup has also contributed to the increase of STDs in Harker Heights. The population which is distributed as:
With the above different races, there exists different practices and values. Some of these practices necessitate the growth of STDs within the city.
Existence of different religions with the city is another contributing factor to the increase of STDs in Heights. Religions in the city include:
With the above different religions there exists different beliefs. This difference in beliefs constitutes to different practices and some of the practices facilitate increase in STD infection. Along with religion and race contributing to the increase in STD infection, the qualitative and quantitative state of STD testing testing resources is another factor that has led to increased STD infection in Heights. There are no enough facilities within the city to cater comprehensive STD testing.
Along with the above factors contributing to the growth of STDs, outreach programs and exhibitions are gradually fighting off STD infection by education the youth and the locals about sexuality and hence empowering them with the right knowledge.
STI Testing Resources in Harker Heights, TX
With the alarming increase in STDs within Heights, the County’s health community along with the State’s Health Department have joined hands to fight the spread of STDs. Their main aim is to equip and increase the standards and accessibility level of health facilities within the city. They have delved into ensuring that all private and public health facilities have met the required health standards to deliver adequate and quality STD services.
Bell County Health Department Health Center is one of the public facilities within the city. Established long ago during the incorporation periods of the city, the health facility has had a reputation of offering medically accurate, private and confidential STD testing services. HIV/AIDs testing in the facility is free for all United States citizens. Their services are appointment basis and offer client friendly costs for testing all other STDs. Metroplex Health center is another public health facility within Harker Heights. Equipped with specialized and experienced doctors in all types of STDS, the health center offers one of the medically accurate and time conscious STD testing. They offer referrals on request and have stood the test of time in STD testing, treatment and management. They also offer individual and family STD therapies on request.
Seton Medical Center is a private health facility in Heights. The health center offers appointment basis services that are private and confidential. Equipped with experts in all types of STDs and specialists in client handling, they offer quality individual STD services. They also offer family therapies upon client’s request. Scott & White Clinic is another private health facility within the city. It offers time conscious, appointment basis STD services. Along with offering personalized contraception and family therapies, they also offer referral services upon client’s request. They also offer home therapies, where doctors attend to you from your home.
AFC Urgent Care Washington Heights is an urgent care center within Heights. This is a walk in basis facility that handles emergency STD testing and treatment services. With several branches across the city, this facility boasts specialized experts in all types of STDs. Operating within different time frames of the day, this health care facility serves all United States citizens regardless of race, religion or ethnicity. PlushCare Urgent Care is another urgent care within Heights city. It is a walk-in basis facility that offers private and confidential STD testing services. They offer very fast, medically accurate STD testing and treatment.
Audre Rapoport Parenthood Center is one of the renown parenthood centers within the city. The facility handles females in all ages. Specializing in women’s health, they offer time conscious, appointment basis STD testing and contraception services. The facility offers medically accurate, private and confidential STD services. Downtown Austin Parenthood Center is another parenthood center clinic within Heights. The facility is an appointment basis clinic that renders medically accurate and confidential STD testing. Their STD testing is done by experts who also deliver counselling to their clients.
Better Sexual Health in Harker Heights, TX
Incorporated in the 19th century, Harker Heights is one of the oldest cities in Texas. With the increased social media use and influx of people in Heights, the rates of STD infection has been a nightmare to most residents. WIth STD infection rates rising with time, the future of the city seems to be uncertain. Though hardly fought in all fronts by the health community in the city the numbers of STD infection have been consistently rising. With the abstinence only education faltering in its attempt to curb the rates, the city has embarked on comprehensive sexual education.
The introduction and adoption of comprehensive sexual education in school’s curriculum is viewed as the only redemption from the STD infection havock. Along with equipping and improving the standards of health facilities within the city, comprehensive sexual education forms the base for reducing the rates of STD infection in Heights city.
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