Travis County has one of the highest sexually transmitted disease rates in the state.
That’s higher than the rate around Houston, Fort Worth and the El Paso area, as well as the average rate across the state of Texas.
Travis County’s health director Dr. Phil Huang said some of the statistics can be attributed to the high percentage of young people in the local population. More than half of chlamydia and gonorrhea cases are diagnosed in people ages 15 to 24.
But the rates are also increasing at a faster pace than can be accounted for just by population growth. Over the past decade the number of people living with HIV has doubled in Travis County, though Huang said that's because people who have the disease are living longer with the help of improved medical treatments.
There are precautions sexually active people can take to protect themselves and reduce the spread of STDs.
"It spreads like wildfire because it has to do with general ethics,” said Zach Royston, a student. “Like, are you going to tell your partner you have an STD? And I think it’s a big problem."
“It’s just really important for people to be aware and thinking about their sexual health, and get tested and practice safe sex," Huang said.
Rachel Friedman, another student, said she doesn’t believe the problem has to do with awareness or the availability of education on safe sex.
“It’s just, are enough people willing to seek it out," she said.
For more information on protecting yourself against STDs, click here.
Read the city’s 2012 Critical Health Indicators Report here: