Despite a downward trend in the transmission of two sexually transmitted diseases in the state, Mississippi is second in the nation for Gonorrhea and Chlamydia. MPB's Desare Frazier reports.
Al, which is not his real name, says he contracted Chlamydia in his teens after having unprotected sex. Later, the 24-year began having severe pain in his testicles.
"I actually experienced swelling of my testicles, so I came and got checked. I was wondering what was going on. I went to the emergency room. They actually swabbed me and I came back and when I received my results they said I had Chlamydia," said Al.
Al says antibiotics cleared-up the infection in about a week. Deputy State Epidemiologist Dr. Paul Byers is with the Mississippi Health Department. He says anyone who engages in unprotected oral, anal or vaginal sex can potentially contract Chlamydia and Gonorrhea. Sometimes they treat people for both at the same time. Byers says some may not have symptoms. But men and women can have stomach pain, discharge and burning when urinating.
"You know most of the infections that we see are in younger individuals, those folks between the ages of 15 and 24 and that's nationally as well," said Byers.
Byers says that age group tends to have new and multiple partners. In 2014, the health department reported more than 5,600 cases of Gonorrhea and over 19,600 cases of Chlamydia--nearly 3,000 fewer cases than in the previous year. But the state remains at the top of the list for reported cases. Dr. Paul Byers says abstinence, or a monogamous relationship and using condoms reduces the risk of getting the STDs.