BATON ROUGE, La (BRPROUD) — April is Sexually Transmitted Infection (STI) Awareness Month, and it’s a problem that Louisiana is far too familiar with.
As of 2019, Louisiana ranks 3rd in chlamydia, 5th in gonorrhea, and 5th in congenital syphilis or cases of syphilis among newborns, and baton rouge ranks high on the list of sexually transmitted infections.
Sam Burgess with the department of health says these diseases should not be overlooked, “These are still problems. And they’re fairly common and they’ve been increasing in commonality in our communities over the past several years.”
Karli Boggs with Open Health says one explanation for the high numbers is limited education on STDs, but there is also a stigma behind it. “Any positive test does not mean anything about an individual, it’s just like, you know, testing positive for any other disease,” Boggs says.
She also says sexually active adults should be tested at least once a year and at Open Health, “it’s completely confidential and culturally competent for any and all of our patients.”
Both agree there is a simple way to lower the numbers. “Have a better understanding of the prevalence and the long-term effects of untreated disease, then I think we really can drive down the prevalence,” Boggs says.
Also, “having more testing available so that people are diagnosed and treated more quickly,” Burgess says.
For more information on Open Health, visit their website HERE.