Louisiana ranks 3rd in US for states with highest STD rates - WAFB 9 News Baton Rouge, Louisiana News, Weather, Sports

Louisiana ranks 3rd in US for states with highest STD rates

LAKE CHARLES, LA (KPLC) -

Louisiana has found itself uncomfortably close to the top of a rather disconcerting list.

The Bayou State was ranked third in the nation for the number of STD cases in 2016, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Dr. B.J. Foch, medical director for the Region 5 Office of Public Health in Lake Charles, said a number of factors consistently leads to Louisiana's high STD rate.

"One of the main things is poverty. Probably 37 percent of Louisiana's population lives at a poverty level," said Foch.

Rural parishes are also at an increased risk for developing STDs.

"I think access to care - in several parishes throughout the state, there would be considered health professional shortage areas," said Foch. "Especially our rural areas, where we might not have as many providers."

In the CDC's report, more than 2 million cases of chlamydia, gonorrhea and syphilis were reported in the U.S. - which trumps the previous all-time high set in 2015.

"Schools, universities, the correctional centers all need to come together to tackle and improve those rates," said Foch.

Here at home, Foch said it's very important to look past and ignore the stigmas of STD checkups.

"Increase screening and treatment," Foch said. "In order to diagnose, treat and take care of an individual with STDs, you need to do that."

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