LAKE CHARLES, La. (KPLC) - STDs continue to rise, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
“The most recent report actually shows Louisiana’s numbers in a lot of areas are actually getting better. So, good news to report there," Dr. Lacey Cavanaugh, the Office of Public Health’s region five medical director, said.
Just last week, the CDC’s report showed increases in the three most commonly reported STDs from 2017 to 2018. It showed cases of gonorrhea increased five percent, primary and secondary syphilis was up 14 percent and chlamydia rose three percent.
But — Louisiana, often among the top three states for the highest STD rates, showed improvement.
“In primary and secondary syphilis, as of last year’s data, we were ranked third and now we’re 7th. So, going down on those numbers is better it means we have less cases. That’s probably the biggest drop," Cavanaugh said.
Louisiana also moved from having the 3rd highest rate of gonorrhea to 5th. But, the bayou state maintained the 2nd worst spot for chlamydia cases.
Cavanaugh said one reason for the lower numbers can be attributed to regional STD task forces, groups that help identify local resources and address gaps and barriers.
“One of our community partners held testing, it was national HIV day, and they held a big testing. They went out to several pharmacies and tested lots of people. We’ve partnered with other agencies within the community to offer free testing and screening. One of the things within the office of public health that we’re doing is we’re reaching out to populations that wouldn’t otherwise have access — our homeless population. Those folks and making sure they have adequate access to screening," Cavanaugh said.
While some of the state’s rankings have improved, Cavanaugh said we’re not in the clear yet.
“Even though we have made some very substantial improvements in some of these numbers, we still have a long way to go," Cavanaugh said.
She said Louisiana had over 36,000 cases of chlamydia last year — proving there’s still work to be done.