Already this year, seven cases of HIV have been reported in Lubbock County, plus one full-blown case of AIDS. There have been 600 cases of Chlamydia, 200 cases of Gonorrhea, plus a resurgence of syphilis, a disease many thought had disappeared. Those number are just the first six months of this year.
Lubbock's battle with sexually transmitted diseases continues to rage but some won't give up the fight. Benny Brito's passion lies in outreach. Through Lubbock MHMR, he tries to raise awareness about STD's. Brito says, "The incident rate of infection for STD's in Lubbock is high. We have all kinds of info to prove that."
Brito says at one time Lubbock had the second highest rate of STD infections in the state of Texas. That rate is perpetually high- with Gonorrhea and Chlamydia proving the most prevalent problems. However, in 2003, Lubbock saw dozens of cases of a disease no one likes to talk about. There were 24 new cases of HIV in 2003 and 16 new cases of full-blown AIDS, a disease that does not discriminate. Brito says, "For HIV, nationally, 12% of new infections are age 60 and above."
Part of the larger problem in Lubbock according to Brito, is a tendency for denial. He says, "I know in Lubbock, Texas this is a battle going on, a Christian oriented battle going on and we just have to keep up with what's going on."
Brito says there's only one way to fight Lubbock's persistent problem. Brito says, "We want to prevent. Prevention is the best treatment." Brito says the key is to start teaching children early with age appropriate lessons on values, behavior and self worth.
If you'd like information about educational resources or any other information on coping with STD's, call Lubbock MHMR at (806) 790-4451.