The city of Port Arthur may be surrounded by the warm waters of the gulf, but recent statistics show that it has also been facing a STD crisis for the last twenty years. The number of sexually transmitted diseases keeps increasing, and the small Gulfport city also has one of the highest Syphilis rates in the state. The statistics also show that a greater number of teenagers and young adults are also being affected, and younger women are the most at risk to contract one of these sexually transmitted diseases. Data also shows the African American men and women continue to be the most at risk, and until there is proper education detailing the importance of regular testing, health officials expects to see these statistics continue to rise.
- There were 799 recorded cases of HIV/AIDs in the city and surrounding Jefferson County in 2009
- In 2009 there were 305 cases of Syphilis in the city and surrounding county.
- 2009 saw an average of 25 new cases of Syphilis monthly compared to the 28 per month reported in 2010.
- The city and Jefferson County reported 496 cases of Gonorrhea in 2013.
- Chlamydia rates increased to 1,210 in 2013 compared to 447 in 2006.
The independent school district in the city does follow the same abstinence recommended curriculum in its sex education classes, but the recent statistics also have health officials searching for different alternatives without the advantage of state funding. Teenagers can now sign up for extended sex education classes, though this program is only available with a parent’s consent. This and other community outreach programs are helping to educate some of the city’s lower income families about the importance of getting tested regularly. Until the city is able to educate its teenagers and young adults about the importance of taking care of their sexual health, Port Arthur can continue to expect an increase in the STD rates.
The abstinence program that is offered in the city’s high schools does help to lower the number of teenage pregnancies, but it is not helping to slow the spread of STDs in the area. Some STDs can be passed without sexual contact, and others can only be detected with proper testing. If teens and young adults do not understand how important to their sexual health it is to get HIV testing in Port Arthur, the number of infections will continue to rise. The same is true for Herpes testing in Port Arthur, and it can also help prevent embarrassing cold sores from appearing.
The demographical makeup of this city does play a role in the high STD rates, but city officials agree that the main cause is the lack of education available to young teenagers. Statistics show that teens are having sex at a younger age, which means that more residents are putting themselves at risk. There is also an economical gap between the area’s residents, along with a number who only live in the area part of the year. All of this only makes it more difficult for city health officials to control the spread of sexually transmitted diseases.
The city of Port Arthur has bird watching, fresh and salt water fishing, along with sandy beaches and a high rate of STDs. While there are health clinics in the area the long lines and chances of running into a neighbor have many residents choosing to schedule a confidential STD test in Port Arthur. With one easy phone call and a few minutes spent at the local lab you can take care of your sexual health, and still have plenty of time to watch the sun set over Pleasure Island.