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High STD Rates Concern State Health Officials

By Lawayne Childrey | Published 09 May 2013 10:01am | comments

Mississippi consistently ranks among the highest in the nation for sexually transmitted diseases. Health officials in the state are taking an aggressive approach with treatment.

 In 2011, there were nearly six thousand reported cases of gonorrhea in Mississippi. Those are alarming statistics for Dr. Arti Barns, an infectious disease specialist with the University of Mississippi Medical Center. She says the state has ramped up its treatment for certain sexually transmitted diseases.   

"We are very vigilent about gonorrhea that doesn't respond to our initial treatment, we've already adopted the new CDC guidelines where we're giving people a higher dose of the injection and we're coupling it with another antibiotic both these are strategies to decrease resistence," says Barnes. 

90% of men who have gonorrhea may have symptoms.  But  Barnes says most women with the sexually transmitted disease don't  have any symptoms,  which creates an even greater challenge. 

"When women are not symptomatic, it can linger for longer and cause diseases in their womb and uterus that will lead to infertility later on, so those are the risks that we're seeing with gonorrhea," continues Barnes.

Although 15 to 24 year olds make up 15 percent of Mississippi's population, they represent 69 percent of gonorrhea cases in the state.

Shakina, Lee is a 23 year old health education student at Hinds Community College in Jackson. She says one way to protect yourself  is by using a latex condom correctly and consistently. 

According to the Centers for Disease Control females makeup nearly 60 percent of all gonorrhea cases reported in Mississippi. 










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