Austin ranks in top 50 US cities for highest STD rates in 2023

Eric Rodriguez, Contributer

Editor’s Note: This column was submitted to the Texan by a member of the UT community.

A recent study by Innerbody Research found that Austin ranked within the top 50 United States cities with the highest STD rates. This is a worrying trend that has serious implications for the health and well-being of individuals in our community.

The study, which analyzed data from the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention, found that the rates of several sexually transmitted diseases, including chlamydia, gonorrhea and syphilis increased steadily over the past few years in Austin. This is particularly concerning as these diseases can have serious long-term health consequences if left untreated.

One of the main reasons for the increase in STD rates is a lack of education and awareness about safe sex practices. Many people are not receiving adequate sex education, which can lead to misconceptions about STDs and how they are transmitted. Additionally, the stigma surrounding sexual health and testing can prevent people from seeking the care they need.

To address this issue, we need to prioritize comprehensive sex education in our schools and increase access to sexual health resources. This includes providing free or low-cost testing and treatment for STDs and promoting the use of condoms and other forms of protection.

We also need to work towards reducing the stigma surrounding sexual health and testing. This can be done by promoting open and honest discussions about sex and STDs and providing resources for individuals to seek out information and support.

Since Austin ranks in the top 50 for the highest STD rates in the U.S. this year, this can have a significant impact on college students attending schools in the city, such as UT. Some ways in which this affects them include: 

Increased risk of contracting STDs: If the rates of STDs are high in Austin, students at UT are at a higher risk of contracting an STD. This is especially true if they are sexually active and not practicing safe sex. 

Increased anxiety and stress: High rates of STDs can also lead to increased anxiety and stress for college students. They may worry about their own sexual health and the health of their partners. In turn, this can affect their overall well-being and even academic performance.

Limited access to healthcare: If there is a high demand for STD testing and treatment in Austin, students may face longer wait times or limited availability of healthcare services. This can make it more difficult for them to get the care they need. 

Stigma and shame: STDs can be stigmatized, which can make it difficult for students to talk openly about their sexual health or seek help if they need it. This can lead to feelings of shame or embarrassment, which can also impact their mental health. 

It’s important for students to take steps to protect themselves, such as practicing safe sex, getting tested regularly, and seeking help if they need it. UT can combat STDs by providing resources for students to access sexual health services and education. 

As a community, we must come together to address this issue and take action to reduce the rates of STDs in Austin. By promoting education, awareness and access to resources, we can make Austin a safer and healthier place for all.

Rodriguez is the co-founder of Innerbody Research, a leading health and wellness research website, and the former mayor of the City of San Mateo, California.