CDC says STD rates on the rise, health experts take a look at the rates across Louisiana

OUACHITA PARISH, La. (KNOE) - A new surveillance report from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention shows that STD rates are at an all-time high.

Region eight including Ouachita Parish and NELA ranks the highest in the state for gonorrhea and syphilis diagnoses. Region two (Baton Rouge and surrounding parishes) along with region one (New Orleans and the river parishes) rank the highest for people living with AIDS.

According to the report, gonorrhea, syphilis, and chlamydia have increased for the fifth year in a row.

Cases of congenital syphilis, when the mother passes the disease to the baby, have increased 40 percent from 2017-2018.

According to health experts, these numbers aren’t shocking.

“It is no surprise that, that number will come out. We still have to do a lot with reducing risk,” said Eugene Collins, the Director of Community Services with the Open Health Care Clinic.

State-wide, Louisiana ranks second in the nation for chlamydia.
In the state’s nine public health regions, region eight including Ouachita Parish and NELA ranks the highest in the state for gonorrhea and syphilis diagnoses.

Region two (Baton Rouge and surrounding parishes) along with region one (New Orleans and the river parishes) rank the highest for people living with AIDS.

The numbers may seem high, but that’s because more people are getting tested.

"The way public health works, you're going to see an increase before you see that decrease because more people get tested, they get aware and intentionally you're going to find more cases," Collins said.

According to health experts, some diseases, like chlamydia, don’t always show symptoms and the only way to know your status is to get tested.

"We're in an era now called the superbug, superbug chlamydia, superbug gonorrhea," said Gwendolyn Guillory, the Prevention
Coordinator, and Linkage to Care with Go Care in West Monroe.

Blood samples can test for HIV, Hepatitis, and syphilis. Urine samples can test for chlamydia and gonorrhea.

Guillory says that sexual health is equally as important as physical health and that by getting tested it can lead to prevention and treatment.

Although these STD rates may seem high, health experts believe that through education and treatment they will change.

"Over time we're hoping that the work that we do will help people reduce risk and we'll see those cases balance off," Collins said.

For more information on STD testing and treatment facilities click here.