Recent statistics released by the CDC show that the city of Shreveport and surrounding Caddo Parish are currently seeing a high rate of sexually transmitted infections, and that this alarming trend has been occurring over the last twenty years.
The data shows that the city and parish rank among the highest in the state, and that the number of infections is well above national averages. While the growing number of Chlamydia and Gonorrhea incidents was expected, health officials were surprised by the rapidly increasing number of residents who are testing positive for primary and secondary Syphilis. Twenty years ago health officials believed that this STD was under control, and now it is quickly becoming one of the more commonly diagnosed sexually transmitted diseases in young adults and older males.
In 2012 Caddo Parish ranked second in the state for Gonorrhea infections and third for its Chlamydia rates. 95 positive test results were reported for HIV in the same year, and the rates have only risen in the following years. With more residents testing positive each year for a STD, it has never been so important to remember to get tested regularly.
Some of the other statistics that have city and health officials concerned include;
- There were 2,295 cases of Chlamydia reported in 2012 which places the county third in the state.
- Caddo Parish saw 1,025 incidents of Gonorrhea during 2012.
- The rate of Syphilis infections in the city and county was estimated at 40 cases per 100,000 residents.
- Of the 1,395 HIV diagnoses in the state, 95 were reported in Caddo Parish.
Research has shown that the best way to prevent the spread of STDs is to have comprehensive sexual education programs in place in the classrooms, but this is not the case in Shreveport.
The city still uses the federally funded abstinence only curriculum in its public schools, and while it is being updated it still does not cover the importance of regular testing. Abstinence will prevent pregnancy and it has been effective at lowering the teen birth rate, but with STDs still on the rise among teens and adults the program is not slowing the spread of sexually transmitted diseases.
The lack of information means that students and many of their parents do not understand the importance of regular STD testing, or the means by which these sexually transmitted diseases can be spread. Not all infections are spread solely through penetration during intercourse, and not every disease displays immediate symptoms making it even easier to unknowingly transmit the virus.
This is why regular Herpes testing in Shreveport is so important, since the virus can be spread through casual contact. The simple test only takes a few minutes and it can effectively treat and stop the spread of the viral disease. Regular HIV testing in Shreveport is also critical for continued good health. Often someone infected won’t display any noticeable symptoms until it has turned into full blown AIDS. The painless procedure could potentially save your life and that of someone you love.
Demographics play a key role in the STD rates for an area, and this will include social and economic factors, along with gender and age. While STDs were generally only seen in teens and young adults, older men and women are now testing positive for a sexually transmitted disease more often.
Part of the reason for the increasing number of middle age and senior citizens who test positive for a STD is due to living longer and staying healthy. With a larger number of older residents staying sexually active, their chances for contracting a STD drastically increase.
The lack of a comprehensive sexual education program in the public schools makes it difficult for teens and their parents to learn about the importance of regular testing. With the ability for some sexually transmitted diseases to spread simply by casual contact, it is critical that everyone gets tested as part of their regular health exam.
Conservative values and religious beliefs can also make it difficult for teens and adults to admit that they are sexually active. Stereotypes that accompany many of the STDs can make some residents to embarrassed or ashamed to get treatment. The city is also suffering from a lack of community health centers, and the long lines that are common often forces many residents to put off this important health test.
Lower income families often find that they simply can’t afford regular testing, and health officials are also dealing with a language barrier from the increasing number of Hispanic and Asian residents. Until everyone can and does get tested regularly, this southern city will continue to suffer from a high STD rate.
Before you head to the art museums or sample some true “southern” cooking it is important to take a few minutes to take care of your sexual health. While there are a few community health centers that you can take advantage of, the long lines have many residents searching for another option. Now you can schedule confidential STD testing with one quick and easy phone call and only spend 20 minutes or so at the local lab, which still gives you plenty of time to enjoy the city.