Combating High STI Rates

RRPJ-Combatting STIs-18Apr18
Red River High School is working to educate students about the high incident of Sexually Transmitted Infections. Red River Parish and Northwest Louisiana are areas of very high incident of STIs.

On Tuesday, all high school students were given the opportunity of hearing from the state Department of Health and the Red River Parish Health Unit. Groups of students went to the school auditorium for a presentation of the facts about disease prevention. There were four sessions during the day for 9th and 10th grade students and for 11th and 12th graders. There were separate sessions for girls and boys.

Iberia Watley of the Office of Public Health made the presentation. Yashica Turner of the Health Unit assisted her. Turner told The Journal the prevalence of sexually transmitted infections is very high in Northwest Louisiana. She said, “High school students don’t know the facts. They are not protecting themselves.”

Watley stressed that they were not offering sex education. They offered disease awareness and prevention. Watley’s presentation included the fact that Red River Parish is third in northwest Louisiana in Gonorrhea and forth in Chlamydia. Also present are syphilis and HIV. “Our rates in northwest Louisiana are still very high,” added Watley.

The Red River Parish School Board approved the program several months ago. Parents were given notice of the instructional sessions and had an opportunity to “opt out” their children.

April is STD (Sexually Transmitted Disease) Awareness Month nationwide. And the timing of the sessions on Tuesday is especially critical because Friday is Prom Night for Red River High.

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