MONROE, La. (KNOE) - Louisiana has the highest rate of sexually transmitted diseases in the country. That's according to a new study released by the National Council for Home Safety and Security.
The map above (click here to enlarge) shows the state's overall score. The lower the score, the higher the rate of STDs in the state. Louisiana is number one with 2.3. Vermont was the lowest with 47.8.
Louisiana is among the top three states when it comes to getting gonorrhea, chlamydia, primary and secondary syphilis, and congenital syphilis. Congenital syphilis is passed from the mother to infant. Nearly half of babies who are infected die. The report also says that congenital syphilis has seen a 154% increase since 2013.
The report also says, "The U.S. Preventive Services Taskforce now recommends all pregnant mothers are tested for syphilis at their first prenatal screening. Antibiotics can prevent the mother from passing the disease on to their newborn."
This is where Louisiana ranked for each disease:
*Congenital Syphilis: #1
Researchers used information from the CDC and the census to come up with the results. You can view the full report here.
Last year, the CDC announced more than 92-million dollars in grants were available for state and city health departments. The money was used to respond to outbreaks and promote CDC recommended awareness campaigns, screening, diagnosis and treatment.
New Orleans remains on the front lines of the HIV epidemic. According to the CDC, New Orleans remain the third highest rate of new HIV infections as a city of anywhere else in the country.
During his State of the Union Address, President Trump said his administration is working to end HIV in America. The U.S. Dept of Health and Humans Services says the president's initiative will work to reduce the number of new HIV infections by 75% in the next five years and by 90% in the next decade.
Dr. Jason Halperin is an infectious disease physician at Crescent Care in New Orleans. He says detection is the key. "We need to test as many people as possible. Those who are positive, we need to start them on treatment immediately and anyone who is at risk of HIV, there is a pill, one pill once a day called prep that prevents HIV. It is those three pillars and we could end the epidemic."
Halperin favors HIV testing as part of annual exams. You can get free testing for HIV, syphilis, and hepatitis C with no appointment at Go Care. Go Care is located on North 7th street in West Monroe. You can call them at (318) 325-1092 or visit their website for more information.