Louisiana sees recent rise in STI cases

Published: Nov. 17, 2022 at 7:24 PM CST
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Lake Charles, LA (KPLC) - Among Louisiana’s nine public health regions, Lake Charles ranks the best when it comes to the amount of people getting sexually transmitted infections, or STI’s.

However, experts worry about the increasing numbers seen here.

“If you want to protect yourself, the fewer sexual partners you have. the less your risk is going to be. The more partners you have especially within a short time frame, the higher your risk is going to be,” Region 5 Medical Director Dr. Lacey Cavanaugh said.

Cavanaugh said although condoms are relatively a good form of protection, it is possible to still transmit some STI’s, even when using one.

“For example, herpes. Herpes is one of the ones that can be transferred from skin to skin contact so a condom will not be a one-hundred percent effective in preventing it,” she said.

And as a preventative measure to assure that you are aware of exactly what is going on in your body, Cavanaugh advises the following: “We usually recommend routine screening for people who may be engaged in high risk activity at least annually. Sometimes we recommend more than annually in the case of a new partner or known exposure to an STI.”

This will help identify cases that may be asymptomatic.

When there are symptoms, things that you could look for is a rash or discharge. However, it can get tricky, Cavanaugh said.

“Symptoms can be confused with other things. For example, a rash, poison ivy can cause a rash, contact dermatitis can cause a rash,” she said.

Cavanaugh says African-Americans ages 20 to 39 are disproportionately impacted by STI’s.

However, the key is to be mindful of your status to help bring down the numbers.

“If you ever have symptoms, consult a health care provider and don’t be afraid to talk about it,” she said.

Cavanaugh HIV and syphilis tend to impact men more than women, and gonorrhea and chlamydia are close to 50/50.