The city of McAllen is the largest in the Rio Grande Valley, but this does not explain the high rate of STD infections that have been increasing in the last twenty years. According to recent statistics the number of reported cases of Gonorrhea and Chlamydia has risen dramatically, especially among the city’s large Hispanic population. The recent statistics also show that sexually transmitted diseases are more common in teenagers and young adults. The data also confirmed that the number of unplanned pregnancies in teenagers was on the rise, and that teens were becoming sexually active at an earlier age.
- In 2006 there were over 1,000 new cases of Chlamydia in McAllen and Hidalgo county compared to 3,299 in 2013.
- In 2013 the rate for Chlamydia infections was 404.3.
- Between 2006 and 2013 the number of new Gonorrhea infections doubled to over 500.
- In a one year period, between 2012 and 2013 there were 22 new cases of Syphilis which shows a steady increase over the last couple of years.
While the city does have the largest independent school system in the valley, it still does not have an adequate sexual education program. Following the curriculum recommended and funded by the state, the city’s school system relies on the abstinence program to help prevent the spread of STDs and limit the number of unplanned teen pregnancies. While even educators admit that this is not enough to slow the spread of sexually transmitted diseases, they also suggest that it is up to the parents to inform their children about the importance of regular STD testing. A few of the city’s health centers do offer guidance and free condoms, but without education the Rio Grande Valley can expect to see its STD rates continue to rise.
One of the reasons that the STD statistics are so high for this southwestern city is the lack of regular testing, and the knowledge that not all sexually transmitted diseases can be prevented by just by practicing abstinence. Regular HIV testing in McAllen is the only way to accurately diagnose this disease, and early detection can be instrumental in preventing the infection from turning into AIDS. Herpes testing in McAllen is also important to prevent embarrassing cold sores from appearing, and to stop the virus from spreading.
The demographics in the city will affect the STD rates, and there are several factors that should be considered. Cultural differences and below average income levels, along with a high crime rate in some barrios can make it difficult for city health officials to inform residents about the importance of regular testing. Lower income families often cannot afford the tests, and the heavy Spanish speaking citizens often experience difficulties with language barriers. While all of this does affect the STD rate, the lack of education remains the largest contributing factor.
The city of McAllen has a uniquely blended culture and a high rate of sexually transmitted diseases that do not seem to be decreasing. While the city does have several health centers the long lines and potential embarrassment of many residents putting off this important test. With the lack of sexual education available for students and adults, many residents simply do not realize the important of being tested regularly for any STDs.
Now you can schedule a private STD test in McAllen and skip the long lines at the local lab. Not only will you be able to avoid running into a friend or neighbor, you can still make it to the Quinta Mazatlan for a tour of a historic Spanish style home.