Mariachis, coffee and condoms. All three in were in one place at Northwest Vista College on Thursday. It's part of an effort to reduce the rising rates of STDs in Bexar County, which ranks among the highest rates in Texas.
"The disease rates have been epidemic for the past 10 years," said Dr. Fernando Martinez, a professor of community health at Northwest Vista College.
According to Metro Health, Bexar County numbers are skyrocketing when it comes to certain STDs. Nearly all of the numbers have nearly doubled over the past 10 years. In 2005, there were 7,400 Chlamydia cases in the county. That number jumped to 13,069 10 years later. Gonorrhea cases jumped from 2,184 cases in 2005 to 3,905 cases 10 years later. And with syphilis, the number of cases increased from 129 in 2005 to 223 in 2015.
How do we get those numbers down? Experts say the solution is practicing safe sex. Texas Wears Condoms is offering free condoms to everyone.
"They can order up to 50 free condoms every 30 days and you just go online to TexasWearsCondoms.com to order them," said Marlene Burriola of Texas Wears Condoms.
She added that the condoms are even mailed discretely.
"It just has our return label. Nothing on the outside says Texas Wears Condoms because we respect everyone's privacy," Burriola noted.
At Thursday's session, Burriola showed the proper way to open and put on a condom.
"You want to make sure you check the expiration date. Make sure you weren't using scissors or your teeth," she said. "You want to make sure it looks like a party hat."
Another goal of Thursday's session was tackling a very problematic stigma.
"Its out there and if we don't talk about it, if we don't get people aware of what the risks are, then the epidemic rates of STDs continue," Dr. Martinez said.
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