According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), this year’s Sexually Transmitted Surveillance Report marks the third year of overall increasing rates for chlamydia, gonorrhea, and syphilis in Louisiana.
When we think of Louisiana, we think of larger than life festivals, awesome food, world-class music, and a one-of-a-kind culture that is stitched into the fabric of our great state. One thing we don’t typically think of when speaking of Louisiana, is health, in particular, sexual health. Even though all aspects of sexuality from gender identity and expression to fetishes are more widely accepted now than ever before, we do still live in the deep south where certain things aren’t to be talked about. And even though sexual health is just as important as emotional health or physical health and deserves the same attention and education, because it includes “sex”, it’s not talked about. Not only aren’t kids getting comprehensive sexual health education in schools, but grown folk are walking around our state and the capital city not knowing the difference between a sexually contracted bacterial and viral infection.
Is it any wonder why our sexually transmitted infection (STI) rates are so high?! Here are some stats that should burn your grandmama’s biscuits. In 2016…
- Louisiana had the 2nd highest chlamydia rate in the United States. Baton Rouge ranked 3rd in the state.
- Louisiana had the 2nd highest gonorrhea rate in the United States. Baton Rouge tied for 4th place in the state.
- Louisiana had the highest syphilis rate in the United States. Baton Rouge ranked 3rd in the state.
There are many reasons why our STI rates are so high and continue to rise. A few include: lack of comprehensive sexual health education, the “invincibility” factor (ohhhh no, that couldn’t happen to me. Only those people get STI’s), and our high rates of drinking and opioid usage. Being impaired by alcohol and other drugs lowers inhibitions and judgment so riskier sexual behaviors are more likely to happen.
Y’all, it’s real out here in these streets. You can do yourself a huge favor by always, 100% of the time, using a condom when having sex. Talk to any potential sexual partners and make sure they have been tested recently (within the last 3-6 months). And go get tested yourself! It’s better to know what you’re dealing with and get treated than running around with a disease that can possibly be cured or treated before any damage occurs!
For more information about STIs, treatment options, service providers, clinic locations, etc, visit https://www.louisianahealthhub.org/