It is impossible for residents of this planned community to ignore their high STD rate anymore. While part of it is due to the fact that The Woodlands is part of Harris County and the Houston greater metro area, the statistics still show that residents are at risk for contracting at least one STD in their lives.
The statistics released by the Harris County Health Department and the CDC indicate that the STD rate has been rising for the past twenty years. In 2000 the Chlamydia rate was reported at 367 per 100,000 residents, and by 2010 it had risen to slightly over 500. While Gonorrhea rates were decreasing in 2009, by 2010 they were also increasing as well.
Residents of this scenic community are also dealing with a high rate of primary and secondary Syphilis infections, along with HIV/AIDS. The number of people that test positive for these transmittable viruses keeps increasing every year. Even though the statistics showed a marked decrease in infection rate for 2009, by 2015 the city and surrounding county had some of the highest percentages in the state.
The statistics also showed that it was not just teens and young adults that were testing positive for a sexually transmitted infection at an alarming rate, but older residents are now finding themselves with an increased risk. Some of the recent statistics that highlight the growing STD problem in the area include,
- In 2015 there were 23,698 cases of Chlamydia in the city and Harris County.
- 2015 saw 319 Syphilis incidents, which gives the city one of the highest rates in the state.
- There were 6,561 cases of Gonorrhea reported in the county for 2015, with the majority occurring in young African American males.
With STD and teen pregnancy rates rising it would make sense if the state and city had comprehensive sex education programs in place in its public school districts, but unfortunately this is not the case.
Currently the state does not require its public schools to include information on STDs or contraception, instead it follows the curriculum in the federally sponsored abstinence based programs. This means that while students are taught that refraining from intercourse will help keep them safe, they do not learn that it can’t protect them from sexually transmitted diseases.
Regardless of the name of this group of diseases, you do not need to engage in any type of sexual activity in order to contract one. Knowing this information alone could help protect teens and younger adults, but it is currently not taught in primary or secondary schools.
Students also do not learn how important regular STD testing is, even if they are not sexually active. Regular Herpes testing in the Woodlands will help prevent the virus from spreading and lower infection rates in area high schools. Regular HIV testing in the Woodlands is the only way to detect this potentially deadly disease, and it can also help prevent it from being transmitted to others.
One of the reasons why this planned community has such a high STD rate is its location. As a part of the Houston metro area, the Woodlands share many of the same problems. This includes a high transmittable disease rate.
The demographical makeup of the community is primarily Caucasian and this also affects the area’s STD rates. Statistically minority groups have the highest risk for contracting a sexually transmitted disease, but due to its demographics the opposite is true in the city. Another statistical difference is the income level for the area, which is higher than national averages. This means that the majority of residents can afford the cost of regular testing, they are just not taking advantage of the city’s STI clinics.
There are a few community testing centers but crowded waiting rooms are common. The majority of the city’s residents would prefer to not run into a familiar face when they are getting tested, regardless of whether they are positive or not for a STD. Residents often find it difficult to make time in their busy schedules for STD testing, especially if they don’t feel like their behavior has put them at risk.
Like many other cities across the state the lack of education is also contributing to the high infectious disease rates, and statistics show that this is not likely to change unless residents have access to the information they need to keep themselves safe.
Until these and other contributing factors are resolved the city can expect to have some of the highest sexually transmitted disease rates in the state.
Before you catch a concert at the Pavilion or head to one of the expansive community pools it is important to take a few minutes to take care of your sexual health. It is understandable if you don’t want to wait in a crowded clinic, but you still need to get tested for STDs. Now you can avoid the busy community centers and still take care of your health. With one simple phone call you can schedule confidential STD testing and only spend of few minutes at a conveniently located lab.