Known for its annual Mardi Gras parades and thriving local music scene New Orleans, Louisiana is also dealing with a rising number of Chlamydia, Gonorrhea, Hepatitis B, C, Herpes, HIV and Syphilis cases and a shortage of free STD testing centers. Fondly referred to as the “Big Easy” residents can take advantage of the STD clinics in New Orleans, LA, but the long lines have many people hitting the bars on Bourbon St instead of getting tested regularly. Now you can avoid the long wait and make one simple phone call to schedule private STD testing and only spend 15 to 20 minutes in the local lab, which gives you plenty of time to drink a hurricane in the French Quarter.
The “Big Easy” is known for its thriving night life, but this vibrant city is also experiencing a high rate of STDs. Recent statistics show that the numbers of sexually transmitted diseases have been steadily rising in the city for the past twenty years, and the increase is not only due to the large number of tourists who might lose their inhibitions due to heavy drinking.
In 2009 statistics showed that New Orleans had the highest number of reported HIV cases for residents in the region, and ranked second in the state. While the city does have a strong tourism base, health officials are quick to point out that most statistics only include permanent residents. This has led to some city leaders rethinking their stance on sexual education programs in the classroom.
Chlamydia and Gonorrhea rates are also high in New Orleans, but it is the city’s increasing number of primary and secondary Syphilis diagnoses that has many health officials worried. The STD was thought to be under control, but statistics show it has been increasing since 2005.
Other statistics that highlight the growing problem with STDs include;
- In 2012 Orleans Parish and the city had one of the highest rates of Chlamydia with over 900 per 100,000 residents.
- Statistics showed that women in New Orleans were at a greater risk of contracting Chlamydia in 2012.
- Orleans Parish ranked among the highest for primary and secondary Syphilis in 2012 with over 20 cases per 100,000 residents.
- Black men in New Orleans are at a greater risk of contracting Syphilis or HIV.
Some people living outside New Orleans might be surprised to learn that the “Big Easy” does not have sexual education programs in place in the schools. While the city might be relaxed about drinking, sexual preferences, and almost anything else, it does not support teaching students about the dangers and risks associated with engaging in unprotected sex.
For some city leaders this simply does not make sense, especially considering the growing number of 15 to 19 year olds who are testing positive for sexually transmitted diseases. While others point out that the schools do push for students to sign abstinence contracts the number of teen pregnancies seems to indicate that this approach might not be effective.
Adding to the problem is the lack of funding for the public schools, along with the large number of residents who send their children to Catholic schools. While city leaders are not asking church officials to start handing out condoms, they are hopeful that some will be available to help counsel students who admit to being sexually active.
Along with preventing teen pregnancies, sexual education programs can help stress the importance of regular testing. Some STDs can be spread without engaging in intercourse, and others may not show any symptoms until you have already infected others. This is one of the reasons why it is so important to have regular HIV testing in New Orleans.
Regular Herpes testing in New Orleans is also important and can stop the spread of the virus, along with helping to prevent embarrassing flare ups.
Demographics will always play a role in the STD rates in a city, and New Orleans is no different. The city has always had a diverse population, and it is even more so as new and old residents move in after rebuilding from the devastation of Hurricane Katrina.
Lower income neighborhoods in New Orleans have always had the highest rate of STDs, along with African American residents. Part of this is due to a lack of health care centers in the wards, especially in the lower sections. It can also be difficult for lower income families to afford testing, and most health care plans do not cover regular visits to the clinic.
Religion and cultural beliefs are also responsible for the high rate of STDs, and the large Catholic population often frowns on parishioners who are seen being tested regularly. Even though this is the best way to take care of your sexual health, many are not comfortable being seen at a clinic.
Religious beliefs and misinformation also have lead many in New Orleans to believe that only certain people are at risk of contracting an STD, and until this misconception is changed the number of residents who test positive for a sexually transmitted disease will continue to rise.
In between strolling through the French Quarter and visits to historic City Park it is also important to get tested regularly for STDs in New Orleans. There are clinics in the city but many residents do not want to wait in the long lines and some are also worried about running into friends or family members. Now you can easily schedule confidential STD testing with one quick and easy phone call, and only spend 20 minutes at the local lab. This gives you the privacy you need to take care of your sexual health, and you will still have plenty of time to catch a ride on the trolley for a tour of the Garden District.