Chlamydia and gonorrhea cases in Texas seem to be rising more slowly compared to many other states, with chlamydia and gonorrhea infections among women actually dropping in 2018. However, chlamydia remains the most frequently recorded STD in Texas, Harris County, and Baytown, followed by gonorrhea and then syphilis.
Texas had 146,510 chlamydial infections in 2018, according to the CDC report, which included 100,417 female infections. This number was down from 105,995 in 2017, but the 45,450 male infections in 2018 were up from 45,170 in 2017. Harris County had 27,415 male and female cases, which included 581 cases in Baytown, per the 2018 Texas STD Report. Based on the number of reported cases and rates of infection, Harris County ranked third in the nation compared to all other counties and independent cities.
The U.S. had a total of 583,405 documented gonorrhea cases in 2018, which equates to 179.1 cases per 100,000 population. While Texas’ rate of infection was lower than the national average at 166.9 per 100,000, Harris County was higher at 187.6 per 100,000. As with chlamydia, gonorrhea infections decreased in the state’s female population. Occurrences in women dropped from 20,963 in 2017 to 19,982 in 2018, while male incidents rose from 26,344 in 2017 to 27,117 in 2018. Baytown had a total of 119 male and female gonorrhea cases reported in 2018, per the Texas report.
Harris County ranked fifth in the nation for primary and secondary syphilis infections, with 565 cases resulting in 12.1 infections per 100,00. It ranked 16th among 254 counties within the state, with a rate of infection of 12 per 100,000, but it ranked first for actual number of reported cases. The 2018 Texas STD report recorded 564 primary and secondary syphilis cases in Harris County, including seven in Baytown, and 3,251 total cases. Primary and secondary syphilis infections and total syphilis infections have more than doubled in Harris County since 2011. It had more syphilis cases than any other county in the state in 2018.
Many cases of chlamydia, gonorrhea, and syphilis go undiagnosed, and thus unreported, because people don’t get tested. STDs are often asymptomatic, meaning you feel fine, or the symptoms are so mild, you don’t realize you have an STD, and you can pass it onto others. STDs won’t go away on their own. Untreated STDs can lead to long-term health issues, and the only way to be sure whether you have one is to get tested.
The Health and Wellness Clinics of the Harris County Public Health Department offers Testing123, its HIV/STD prevention program. This program provides free mobile testing for HIV and syphilis, plus education and counseling. Mobile testing is available to anyone in Harris County by texting 281-962-8378 to set up a time to meet. Individuals may also schedule a wellness exam at one of the Health and Wellness Clinics across the county, which may include HIV, chlamydia, gonorrhea, and syphilis testing. Clinics also offer STD treatment and prevention services and are open from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., Monday through Friday.
2223 West Loop South
Houston, TX 77027
Multiple Harris County locations
Legacy Community Health offers free rapid-response HIV, STD, and pregnancy testing, plus same-day PrEP, at locations across Houston, Baytown, and Beaumont. Its San Jacinto clinic at 4301 Garth, Suite 400, in Baytown offers free walk-in HIV testing and same-day PrEP from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., Monday through Friday. Its premiere testing-only location at the Legacy Midtown Main clinic offers free HIV/syphilis combo testing, with same-day results, and low-cost full panel STD screening. It also offers same-day PrEP and free pregnancy testing. Walk-ins are welcome, but appointments are also available.
2401 Main Street
Houston, TX 77002
Multiple Harris County locations
AIDS Foundation Houston offers private, confidential testing, including free HIV and syphilis testing, plus PrEP intake. It performs rapid HIV testing with a finger prick or oral swab, with results available in as little as 60 seconds. Syphilis testing requires a blood sample via venipuncture, and positive HIV tests require a blood sample via venipuncture for confirmation. All blood samples are sent to the lab for further testing. Walk-in testing isn’t currently offered, but appointments may be made by phone and are available from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., Monday through Thursday.
6260 Westpark Drive, Suite 100
Houston, TX 77057
FLAS (Fundación Latinoamericana De Acción Social) provides HIV and STD testing, counseling, education, and treatment referrals for Latinos in Houston Metro. It offers free, confidential testing and counseling for HIV, syphilis, and hepatitis C, and accepts walk-ins from 9:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m., Monday through Friday. It also supplies HIV awareness classes and referrals to free or low-cost healthcare providers for individuals who test positive.
6666 Harwin Drive, Suite 370
Houston, TX 77036
Planned Parenthood Gulf Coast offers STD testing, diagnosis, and treatment for chlamydia, gonorrhea, syphilis, bacterial vaginosis, genital warts, herpes, and trichomoniasis, and testing and diagnosis only for HIV. Planned Parenthood also provides various STD prevention services, including free condoms and internal condoms, HPV vaccines, PrEP, and STD and safer sex education. STD testing, treatment, and vaccination services are available during business hours by appointment only. Payment is expected at the time of service unless other arrangements are previously made. Some services may be covered by insurance. Interpretation services are available for most languages, including American Sign Language.
4600 Gulf Freeway
Houston, TX 77023
Multiple Houston area locations
Houston’s AIDS Healthcare Foundation serves all of Harris County and offers HIV and STD testing at its free STD Clinic on Hermann Drive every Tuesday and Thursday, from 2:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. It also provides information about STDs, safer sex, and cryotherapy treatments, and referrals to doctors specializing in HIV/AIDs. Its specialized clinic at 1200 Binz Street provides confidential HIV and STD testing, individual prevention counseling, PrEP, HIV and STD clinical treatment, and a medication assistance program. This location has Spanish speaking staff members and is open from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., Monday through Friday.
1213 Hermann Drive, Suite 620
Houston, TX 77004