Like most of the state of Texas, San Antonio has also seen a jump concerning STD infections, and Bexar County Health Officials only expect this trend to continue. They have not only seen an increase in Chlamydia and HIV diagnosis, but it has also experienced a return of all types of 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 plays a large role.
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,San Antonio follows governmental guidelines, preferring 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. They don’t understand that abstinence 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 with control.
Regular HIV testing in San Antonio needs to be discussed, especially with the lack of education. When everyone takes a few minutes to educate themselves, 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. There is a large Hispanic population in San Antonio, but 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 talk about sex, 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, there are others 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, changes need to be made.
In between strolls on the river walk and tours of the historic Alamo, don’t forget about your health. While there are facilities, getting an appointment can be a frustrating experience. You can avoid this hassle and schedule confidential STD testing. Receive your results quietly and privately without the potential fear or embarrassment of seeing someone you know. It only takes 20 minutes, and you’ll have peace of mind while seeing all of the beautiful sights in this historic Texas city.