The oldest city in Texas is facing the same health crisis as the rest of the state, according to recent STD statistics. The last twenty years has seen a dramatic rise in the number of reported STDs, and this also includes HIV and AIDs with seven new cases being diagnosed in 2008. In a four year period the city and surrounding Nacogdoches county reported over 2,200 residents tested positive for an STD, and it seems to be affecting the city’s teenagers and young adults the hardest.
- Between 2006 and 2010 there were over 1,500 new cases of Chlamydia.
- Gonorrhea increased by 10 percent in a four year period.
- There were 125 cases of Syphilis reported from 2006 to 2010.
- In 2013 there were 93 cases of HIV in the city and county.
- The area was ranked 8th in the state for Chlamydia rates and 5th for its high percentage of residents with Gonorrhea.
Following the example set by the rest of the state, the independent school district of Nacogdoches is still following the abstinence based curriculum that does not have the importance of regular testing or practicing safe sex. While there are some community outreach programs that are trying to reach this diverse and deeply religious community, recent statistics show that this is not enough to lower the city’s high STD rates. Not only is the lack of education affecting teenagers and young adults it is a problem that will follow them for the rest of their lives, especially if the STD that is contracted does not display any immediate signs or symptoms.
While some residents might believe that abstaining from all sexual contact is the only way to prevent contracting a STD, it is surprising to many when they learn that this is not accurate. HIV testing in Nacogdoches is the only way to diagnose this potentially deadly disease that can be passed without sexual contact. Herpes testing in Nacogdoches is also important and can prevent the spread of the viral infection, along with helping to prevent any embarrassing flare ups.
The demographics of this west Texas city is as diverse as the rest of the state, and the large Hispanic population does play a role in the high STD rates. While much of this is due to a language barrier between residents and health care workers, the same is not true for the city’s young adults and teenagers. The lack of sexual education in the independent school district is one of the main reasons residents do not understand the dangers of unprotected sex, or the importance of regular testing. With the state’s health care system designed to care for its lower income residents, there only reason for the area’s high STD rate is the lack of information concerning sexually transmitted diseases and its effect on a person’s overall health.
As the “oldest city in Texas” there is a lot to recommend Nacogdoches, regardless of its high rate of STDs. The winding nature trail through the azaleas in the spring can almost make residents forget about the importance of regular testing for sexually transmitted diseases. The city does have an abnormally high rate of STDs and there are clinics that are ready to help you take care of your sexual health.
While these centers are available to help, the long lines and the embarrassing risk of meeting a friend or neighbor has many residents choosing a different option. With one easy phone call you can schedule a private STD test in Nacogdoches and avoid the long lines and chances of running into to someone you know. By spending a few minutes at the local lab you can be assured of your health and still have time to make the city’s annual blueberry festival.