San Antonio has 19th-highest STD rates in the nation, according to new study

Laredo was the only Texas city with a higher rate.

click to enlarge San Antonio recorded 1,178 STD cases per 100,000 people, according to new federal data. - Pexels / Gustavo Fring
Pexels / Gustavo Fring
San Antonio recorded 1,178 STD cases per 100,000 people, according to new federal data.
San Antonio has the 19th-highest rates for sexually transmitted disease (STD) of any large metro, according to a new report. That's the highest rate of any Texas city, except for Laredo, which landed at No. 18 on the list.

The analysis, compiled annually by health information site Innerbody Research, is based on 2021 data, the latest available from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Those numbers show that the Alamo City tallied 1,178 STD cases per 100,000 people. Overall, the city recorded 12,625 new chlamydia cases, 1,190 new gonorrhea cases, 1,056 new syphilis cases and 333 new HIV cases.

Even though syphilis isn't the most contracted STD in the list's top 25 states, the data show an alarming rise in syphilis rates, according to the report. The number of cases spiked 28.6% nationwide compared to last year's analysis.

Indeed, syphilis cases nationwide are up 781% since 2001, while cases of congenital syphilis — in which an infected mother passes the disease to her baby — are up 464% during that period.

The syphilis rates analyzed in the report also highlight treatment disparities faced by people of color, according to the authors. While communities of color tend to have higher infection rates, experts said that has less to do with proclivities for risky behavior than it does to inadequate access to testing and treatment.

For example, Alaska Native or American Indian people account for just 0.7% of live births, according to study, yet those newborns accounted for 4% of congenital syphilis cases. What's more, non-Hispanic Black people make up roughly 12% of the U.S. population but suffer 31% of the cases of chlamydia, gonorrhea, and primary and secondary syphilis.

"While newborn syphilis cases are increasing nationwide and across every racial and ethnic group, some communities, including those of people who are Black, Hispanic, and American Indian or Alaskan Natives, are experiencing the brunt of the newborn syphilis epidemic," Dr. Laura Bachmann, chief medical officer in the CDC's Division of STD Prevention, said in the report.

While Philadelphia topped this year's list, 17 of the cities in the top 25 — or more than two-thirds — were located in the South.

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Sanford Nowlin

Sanford Nowlin is editor-in-chief of the San Antonio Current.

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