Also referred to as Acadiana, this predominantly Creole and Cajun city is currently experiencing a health crisis. Statistics released by the CDC show that the city and county are dealing with a high rate of STDs, and health officials are worried that these numbers will only increase without regular testing.
Over the past twenty years STD rates have been on the rise, and this includes Chlamydia, Gonorrhea and Syphilis incidents. In 2013 the Chlamydia rates for the area rose above those for some larger cities, and this is especially true for Gonorrhea incidents which rose significantly in a short three year period.
While Gonorrhea and Chlamydia rates were expected to be high in this Acadian capitol, health officials and city leaders were surprised by the number of Syphilis incidents that have been reported since 2004. This sexually transmitted disease was thought to be under control after peaking in the 1980’s, but recent CDC statistics show that it is steadily making a comeback.
The statistics also showed that teens and young adults are still among those with the greatest risk for contracting a STD, and African American males test positive more often than other ethnic groups. Some of the other statistics that is raising alarm with city leaders include,
- In 2013 the primary and secondary Syphilis rates were estimated at 15 percent per 100,000 residents, compared to only 5 percent in 2004.
- Between 2010 and 2013 the incident rate for Gonorrhea nearly doubled.
- The city saw its Chlamydia rates surpass those for the more densely populated Baton Rouge in 2013.
In response to the high STD rate across the state, some law makers have proposed updating the current curriculum being taught in the sexual education classes. Currently students are only taught about HIV prevention and abstinence, with all information regarding STDs and the various ways the viruses can be spread left out of the curriculum.
While the law makers advocating the changes are correct in their hopes that this will help lower STD rates, the majority still opposes the addition of any new information. This has left students in the Acadiana area without the necessary tools and information they need to protect themselves from all sexually transmitted diseases.
Abstinence will help lower the teen pregnancy rate, but it is not effective at stopping the spread of all STDs. Some can be easily spread through casual contact, which is one of the reasons that the Herpes virus is so prevalent in area high schools. Other sexually transmitted diseases don’t always display signs and symptoms, which can lead to the unknowing spread of the STD. Until students have access to all of the information, the STD rates will continue to climb.
This is why regular Herpes testing in Lafayette is so important, especially if you want to stop the spread of the disease in area schools. Regular HIV testing in Lafayette is also vital for your continued good health, and this information is included in the local sexual education classes.
The fourth largest city in the state, you would expect it to have a diverse population, and this is certainly true in the heart of Acadiana. The majority of the residents in this unique area are mainly French Creole, Acadian or Cajun, and there is also a large African American and Caucasian presence in the area.
This diverse demographical makeup has made it difficult for health officials to stress the importance of regular STD testing. Along with language barriers and a deep distrust of government officials, some residents are simply hard for health officials to reach. The Vermilion River is home to some local inhabitants, who have no desire to hear about taking responsibility for their sexual health.
Residents also have strong conservative beliefs that are making it difficult for area school boards to implement comprehensive sexual education programs. Many teens and young adults have no way to get the information they need to protect themselves from STDs. Condoms are not readily available, and many younger residents are too embarrassed to ask for it.
The culture is also oriented more toward males, who are expected to never show any weakness. With the preconceived notion that STD testing is only for those who are “dumb enough” to contract a venereal disease, many residents will go their entire lives without ever being checked for a sexually transmitted infection. Until these myths and misconceptions are changed, this historic city will continue to deal with a high STD rate.
Before you go digging for crawfish or crack open a plate of oysters, it is important to take a few minutes and consider your sexual health. STDs are on the rise in the region, and the only sure way to protect yourself is to get tested regularly. There are a few community health centers open to the public, but the long lines make it difficult for residents to fit the checkup into their busy days. Now you can schedule confidential STD testing with one simple phone call, and only spend 20 minutes of your valuable time at a local lab.