Home to several theaters, museums and fabulous shopping at the Galleria, Houston, Texas is also experiencing a rise in the number of reported cases of Chlamydia, Gonorrhea, Hepatitis B, C, Herpes, Syphilis, and HIV and a shortage of free STD testing centers. While it has never been more important to get tested regularly for sexually transmitted diseases, long lines at the STD clinics have many Houston, TX residents choosing a different option. Now you can schedule private STD testing with one simple phone call and only spend 15 to 20 minutes at the local lab, which still gives you plenty of time to see a season opener at Minute Maid Park or Cinergy Field.
Houston is the fourth largest city in the United States and it also has one of the highest percentages of sexually transmitted diseases in the state. Recently released statistics show that STDs have been steadily increasing over the past twenty years, and Harris County health officials were surprised to learn that one of the infections on the rise is Syphilis. Houston and surrounding Harris County reported 380 diagnoses for this STD in 2008, and the numbers are expected to continue to rise.
Other sexually transmitted diseases also increasing in and around the greater Houston metro area included Chlamydia, Gonorrhea, and HIV. With these and other STDs steadily increasing in Houston, it has never been so important to get tested regularly. Some of the other recently released statistics include:
- Chlamydia rates for Houston and Harris county rose from 367 in 2000 to an estimated 500 in 2010.
- The majority of those infected with Chlamydia remain women 25 years and younger.
- Gonorrhea did drop slightly between 2000 and 2005, but statistics released for 2010 show that this STD is on the rise.
- Surprisingly more men were diagnosed with first and secondary Syphilis than women in a ten year period between 2000 and 2010.
Houston and Harris county have a Chlamydia rate significantly higher than the nation average with over 800 new diagnoses in 2009 compared to slightly over 600 for the country.
While the increase in Syphilis has some health officials beginning to take notice, many feel like this is not enough. Regular STD testing can help to slow and even prevent the spread of all of the sexually transmitted diseases, including deadly HIV/AIDS which is also on the rise.
The city of Houston follows the federal abstinence only program in its independent school district, and some state and local officials are beginning to realize that this might not be enough to protect students from contracting a STD. While the current program does ask teens to refrain from having sexual intercourse, the rising number of teen pregnancies and low graduation rates seem to show that this policy is not enough to prevent the spread of sexually transmitted diseases.
Added to the problem is the growing outcry among state and city leaders to defund the few testing facilities in the city. As Houston sees more and more of its clinics closing, it is harder for teens and adults to get tested regularly.
The lack of sexual education in the schools also means that many students and their parents are not aware that some STDs can be spread without having sexual intercourse. Some viral infections such as Herpes and HIV can be transmitted through casual contact, even when there are not any symptoms present. This makes regular Herpes testing in Houston more important than ever, and the simple procedure can also prevent embarrassing flare ups from occurring.
Regular HIV testing in Houston is also vital to everyone’s health and well being, especially since there are often not any symptoms exhibited until it has turned into full blown AIDS. It is a quick and easy test that could potentially save your life and that of someone you love.
The city of Houston has a diverse population that plays a role in the rise number of STDs reported each year. Along with cultural differences, the strong religious and conservative upbringing of many Houstonians is also making it difficult for health care officials to implement sexual education programs in city schools.
Gender is also a factor in the STD rates, with women still being more likely to contract Chlamydia and Gonorrhea. Men are at a greater risk of developing HIV and both types of Syphilis, though this is not to say that either sex is not at risk for contracting any STD. Part of the discrepancy is attributed to cultural stereotypes, and simple embarrassment.
Houston’s large Asian and Hispanic culture are often wary of health care workers and tests, and many teens simply cannot admit that they are sexually active without fear of punishment. Many males often fear ridicule if they are seen getting tested, and there is still the persistent stereotype that only certain people are at risk of contracting HIV.
As long as the city’s schools only offer the abstinence only program and are not willing or able to properly educate students about the dangers of unprotected sex, Houston’s steadily increasing rate of STDs is only expected to grow.
Better Sexual Health
There is something for everyone in the energy capital of the United States, including a high rate of STDS. This makes it more important than ever to get tested regularly, but long lines and the fear of potentially running into a friend or family member has many Houstonians searching for a better way to take care of their sexual health. Now you can make one simple phone call and schedule confidential STD testing and avoid the long wait and chance of running into to someone you know. It only takes 20 minutes to take care of your sexual health, which still leaves you with plenty of time to visit the Museum and Theater Districts in historic downtown Houston.