Recent statistics are showing an alarming trend in the number of reported STD cases, especially among the 15 to 29 age bracket. The recent statistics show that the number of sexually transmitted diseases has risen dramatically in the last twenty years, and health care officials do not believe that this will change in the near future. Chlamydia infections have doubled in women, and statistics are also showing that many of those who tested positive did not exhibit any symptoms. Even more alarming to health care officials is the slight increase in the number of HIV cases reported in the last five years.
- In 2013 there were over 500 cases of Gonorrhea reported in the city and surrounding McLennan County.
- The Chlamydia rate in the area was 640 percent in 2013.
- In 2013 there were over 1,500 reported cases of Chlamydia.
- Between 2006 and 2010 there were over 9,700 reported STDs, including HIV/AIDs.
- In 2010 there were 120 cases of HIV/AIDs diagnosed in the area.
Like most of the state the independent school district in Waco does not have a comprehensive sexual education program, but instead relies on abstinence based curriculums to help protect students and young adults from the risk of unplanned pregnancies and STDs. Unfortunately this program does not cover the dangers of unprotected sex or that some STDs can be spread without having intercourse. While there are a few community outreach programs in the lower income neighborhoods, the consistently rising number of new STD infections every year show that a different approach is needed to protect the city’s teens and young adults.
While some parents and educators are comfortable with the abstinence based sex education curriculum, it is not enough to prevent the spread of some STDs. Not all sexually transmitted diseases display noticeable symptoms, and some can be spread without having intercourse. HIV testing in Waco is critical in detecting the disease early enough to begin treatment, and it can also help prevent the spread of the infection to other residents. Herpes testing in Waco is also important and can not only detect the disease, it can also help control the embarrassing cold sores.
The demographical makeup of Waco does play a role in its steady increasing rate of STDs, and this does include the majority of Hispanic and African American families who are living below poverty in the city limits. The city is struggling with a vast divide among income and residents, and some neighborhoods in the downtown area are experiencing higher STD rates than other places. The main cause of the increase is the lack of education concerning the dangers associated with unprotected sex, and until residents understand the importance of regular testing the percentage of STDs will continue to rise. Some of the area’s local health centers are implementing outreach programs in the lower income neighborhoods, but lack of trust and language barriers are making it difficult for officials to explain the importance of caring for your sexual health.
The city of Waco is surrounding by the Texas plains, and has the advantage of being centrally located between Austin and Dallas. With the Brazos River in the city’s backyard and the Ranger’s baseball Hall of Fame there is plenty to keep residents occupied. Unfortunately the city is also experiencing a high rate of STDs and it has never been so important to get tested.
While there are still health clinics in the city, many residents prefer to avoid the long lines and schedule a private STD test. Not only does this let you spend only a few minutes at the local clinic, but you can also avoid the potential embarrassment of running into neighbors. In just a few minutes you can take care of your sexual health, and still have time to enjoy the Brazos River Walk.