Stay safe: Louisiana ranked state with highest STD risk in United States

Use protection, annually get tested for sexually transmitted diseases to prevent illness

graphic by Sunil Bishwokarma

Louisiana is known for Mardi Gras parades, seafood, Cajun music and southern hospitality. However, that is not the only thing that stands out about the state, Louisiana is also known for sexually transmitted diseases.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Louisiana is the state with the highest rates of STDs in the country.

Last year, the National Council for Home Safety and Security conducted a study on every U.S. state to find out which one had the most and the least overall STD rates. The lower the score, the higher the rate. Louisiana ranked the lowest with a score of 2.3 while Vermont ranked the highest at 47.8. The three main STDs found in Louisiana during this study were syphilis, chlamydia and gonorrhea.

Jalen Russ, a junior secondary education major, said education is key to preventing the spread of STDs. As a member of Alpha Phi Alpha, Russ and others in the fraternity passed out educational pamphlets on sexual health awareness last week. The fraternity also displayed a board covered in statistics about STDs under the SUB overhang.

“We felt that sexual health needed to be advocated for since it is the number one leading health factor in Louisiana,” Russ said. “Knowing about your sexual health can help you know more about your mental or physical health.”

In the past, other RSOs and Greek organizations have taken to spreading awareness of Louisiana’s sexual health on campus as well.

One way to be protected from STDs is to use condoms when having sex. Although, a study by the CDC concluded that condoms aren’t 100% effective, they should still be used. The best way to be safe from STDs is to make sure you and your sexual partners participate in routine checkups by a healthcare provider.

The CDC suggests that all sexually active individuals get tested for STDs once a year. Students can utilize the ULM Health Clinic which offers STD screenings for $10. 

STDs are passed by bodily fluids or genital contact during anal, oral and vaginal sex.

Syphilis’s first state begins with mouth and genital sores. Chlamydia’s main symptom is a burning sensation during urination while Gonorrhea can affect the genital tract, mouth or anus. All of these diseases, if caught by a pregnant woman, can affect the development of a fetus as well as be passed to the child during birth.

Although syphilis, chlamydia and gonorrhea are Louisiana’s most rampant STDs, there are more diseases that people should be aware of and cautious of when participating in sexual activities in the state. There is also a high risk of getting HIV or aids in Louisiana.