Recently released statistics show that the city is still ranked high for its STD rates. Local health officials are also afraid that these percentages will continue to increase in the coming years.
Statistics for the past twenty years show a dramatic climb in the number of reported STDs, especially among African American residents. In 2014 it was estimated that 75 percent of the HIV/AIDS diagnoses were in African Americans, and these numbers are remained consistently high over the years.
Women are also at a greater risk of contracting a sexually transmitted disease, and the metro area continues to rank highest in the state for its STD rate. While some city leaders point out that in 2014 statistics showed that the number of reported HIV and Syphilis cases had decreased slightly, health experts point out that over a twenty year period STDs are still on the rise.
- Between 2004 and 2013 the Chlamydia rate for the metro area was reported at 400 per 100,000 residents.
- In 2014 the Chlamydia rate was 546.5 per 100,000 residents.
- Gonorrhea rates for 2014 were 174.8.
- There were 11.8 cases of primary and secondary Syphilis diagnoses in 2014 in the metro area.
While some of these statistics show that some STDs rates are decreasing slightly, city and state health officials are quick to point out the women and African Americans are still at the greatest risks of contracting a sexually transmitted disease. Health experts also point out that while any decrease is a positive sign, the area still ranks high in the nation and until there is proper education and regular testing, residents will continue to be at risk of contracting any of these sexually transmitted diseases.
Almost all health and city officials agree that regular testing and education is the best way to stop the spread of STDs, but the increasing percentages show that there is not enough being down in city schools and communities.
There are outreach programs and city sponsored ads that stress the importance of regular health screenings, but until there are proper sexual education programs implemented in the classrooms the number of reported STDs will continue to rise.
The city does have an “abstinence only” program in its school system, though the high rate of teen pregnancies does seem to indicate that it is not working. The recent blockage of federal funding too many of the existing clinics has also caused STD rates to rise, and made it difficult for some residents to get the treatment they need.
The lack of sexual education classes also makes it difficult for health officials to stress the importance of regular STD testing, which is especially important for students who may not understand the dangers of engaging in unprotected sex.
Some sexually transmitted diseases can also be spread through casual contact which can often be a problem in city schools. Regular Herpes testing in Hammond is important to stop the spread of the virus, and prevent embarrassing flare ups. Regular HIV testing in Hammond is also important whether you are in high school or a happily married adult.
Demographics will also play a role in STD rates. Cultural and religious beliefs can make it difficult for many people to discuss their sexual habits, and interfere with their willingness to get tested regularly. Income can also affect someone’s ability to get tested for STDs, along with the area they live in.
The recent blockage of federal funding has resulted in the closing of several health clinics, and unfortunately many of these were located in lower income neighborhoods. Along with an inability to pay for regular testing, the lack of education has many residents believing that they are not at risk.
African Americans and certain cultural beliefs have also contributed to the high STD rates, especially among young men who falsely believe that these diseases could never happen to them. These same individuals are also afraid of the shame associated with having a sexually transmitted disease, and are concerned about being shunned by family and friends
Other demographical issues include religious beliefs and a fear many teenagers have of admitting they are sexual active. With the lack of education in the school systems and too little community outreach programs many parents and teens do not understand the risks associated with not being tested regularly.
Until residents and city leaders understand that STDs are a problem and can happen to anyone, the city can continue to expect to have one of the highest STD rates in the state.
In between visits to the Baton Rouge Zoo and tours of the capitol building, it is also important to take a few minutes and get tested for STDs. While there are clinics in Baton Rouge the long lines and fear of running into someone they know has many residents looking for another way to get tested regularly. Now you can schedule confidential STD testing with one simple phone call and only spend 20 minutes at the local lab, and still have plenty of time to catch all of the excitement of the annual LSU and Tulane football game.