Home of the Alamo and beautiful river walk, San Antonio, Texas is also experiencing a shortage of STD clinics and an increase in the number of reported cases of Chlamydia, Gonorrhea, Hepatitis B and C, along with Herpes, HIV and Syphilis. While there are a few free STD testing centers in San Antonio, TX the long lines often have residents searching for another option. Now you can schedule private STD testing with one simple phone call. It only takes 15 to 20 minutes at a local lab to take care for you to take care of your sexual health, which still leaves you plenty of time to enjoy a leisurely stroll along the river walk.
Like most of the state of Texas, San Antonio has also been dealing with an alarming increase in the number of reported STD infections, and Bexar County Health Officials only expect this trend to continue. The last twenty years has not only seen an increase in Chlamydia and HIV diagnosis, but it has also experienced a return of first and secondary Syphilis. Between 2003 and 2011 the number of Syphilis cases tripled from 217 to an astonishing 693, which has many health officials concerned about the lack of sex education and testing facilities.
While Chlamydia and gonorrhea cases did not see the same drastic increase, each of these STDs also rose significantly in an 8 year period. Statistics recently released by the Bexar County health department also show,
- Between 2009 and 2011 there were 2 times as many cases of Chlamydia reported in women than men.
- The same time period also saw a greater number of men being diagnosed with HIV and Syphilis, with the majority being 35 years or younger.
- Hispanics were also found to be 3 times as likely to test positive for Chlamydia or gonorrhea, along with HIV/AIDS and Syphilis.
This particularly surprised Texas health officials, who commonly saw African American women with the highest rate of some STDs in other Texas cities. While the higher percentage of sexually transmitted diseases in Hispanic men and women might be due to an increase in population, most city health professionals agree that education and demographics play a large role in the recent statistics.
Rates of leading reportable sexually transmitted diseases (per 100,000 people), Bexar County, 2009-2011
Trends in number of cases of sexually transmitted diseases, Bexar County, 2003-2011
Unfortunately the city of San Antonio follows the guidelines as the rest of the state and prefers to teach abstinence instead of sexual education. This has many health officials and teachers to realize that while some students might be willing to abide by an abstinence contract, it is not enough to protect teenagers from the dangers associated with having unprotected sex. Even schools that have agreed to make condoms available for students that ask are still dealing with an abnormally high rate of sexually transmitted diseases.
This lack of education in the schools has lead to unprepared teenagers leaving for college and having the misfortune of becoming an STD statistic. While stressing the importance of practicing safe sex can help reduce the number of sexually transmitted diseases in teenagers and young adults, it still won’t completely protect against all STDs. Herpes and HIV can be transmitted without having intercourse, and often there are not any signs or symptoms until it is too late. Regular Herpes testing can prevent the virus from appearing and spreading, and prompt treatment will help control embarrassing flare-ups.
Regular HIV testing in San Antonio is also important for everyone’s health, especially with the lack of education. When everyone takes a few minutes to educate themselves about the dangers of unprotected sex it is easier to prevent these diseases from spreading.
Recent statistics have shown that unlike other major Texas cities, San Antonio is one of the few with a higher rate of STD infections in Hispanic men and women. While it is true that there is a large Hispanic population in San Antonio, it is not significantly higher than other cities. This has led some health care officials to look to the demographics in the area, and they found that along with lack of education there are other factors that are causing the increase in STDs.
Strict religious upbringing, along with a fear the younger generation has of disappointing their parents has made it difficult for Hispanic teenagers to be open and honest about their sexual habits. With most not wanting to admit that they are sexually active, many teenagers are never tested until they are exhibiting noticeable symptoms and infected others. Language barriers between residents and health care workers are also a factor, along with a general mistrust of government officials.
While many of these demographics do not affect all San Antonio residents, poverty and a simple lack of caring is also contributing to the steady increase in sexually transmitted diseases. The lack of available walk in clinics and an in ability to afford regular testing are also adding to the problem. With the rates of all sexually transmitted diseases expected to continue to rise, city health care officials can stress enough the importance of regular STD testing.
In between strolls on the river walk and tours of the historic Alamo, it is also important to remember to take care of your sexual health. While there are clinics in the city, many residents are put off by the long lines and embarrassed at the possibility of running into a family member or neighbor. Now with one simply phone call you can schedule confidential STD testing and receive your results quietly and privately without the potential fear or embarrassment of seeing someone you know. It only takes 20 minutes to take care of your sexual health, which still leaves you with plenty of time to enjoy all of the beautiful sights in this historic Texas city.