Battle Against STD's in the Lake Area

OB-GYN Alice Prestia has been practicing in the Lake Area for quite some time. But she's developed a big concern over the past few years. Dr. Prestia says "There are some terrifying diseases out there."

Her patients coming in with sexually transmitted diseases are younger and younger. Dr. Prestia says "We have an abundance of herpes. We have an abundance of gonorrhea and clamydia infections and the most common is the human paploma virus which causes cervical cancer."

But she's not the only Lake Area doctor concerned about STD's. Internal medicine doctor Jason Robinson says "It's underdiagnosed and undertreated."

Both says kids are taking chances. Dr. Prestia says "Doesn't matter which socioeconomic background you're coming from." And Dr. Robinson adds "There is a much higher level of sexual activitiy.

Both physicians say there's a new culture when it comes to teen sex. Everything from sex parties and multiple partners to partner swapping. Dr. Prestia says one reason girl's are more active is because of today's not so innocent celebrity role-models and the desire to be accepted.  Prestia adds, "The media with the pressures they have in their age groups, we have a losing battle."

There's also a lack of education among girls. Dr. Prestia has noticed, "There are more parties involving oral and anal sex and people are feeling they're still a virgin because they're not having vaginal intercourse."  Then add to all of that the boys who are undergoing a surge of testosterone. Dr. Robinson says, "It gives you a huge sex drive and the desire to have sex is probably greater than any other time in your life."

Some teens have no sexual boundaries. But Dr. Prestia says the incidents in rural Southwest Louisiana are comparable to urban cities. According to the department of health and hospitals, 177 kids ages 10 to 19 were diagnosed with chlamydia in Calcasieu parish in 2005. Compare that to Orleans parish with 1151 cases. Remember, Orleans parish was the state's largest parish pre-Katrina with a population of nearly half a million. Calcasieu has less than half that population.

Robinson adds, "They are young and cannot possibly understand all the ramifications and complications they can suffer."

So the doctors say to lower these numbers education is a must. According to Dr. Prestia, parents need to say, "Yes, I've had those feelings, yes this can happen, you can get these diseases, you can pass this on to other people. Yes, we want abstinance, we want people to wait, but we have to be realistic." Dr. Robinson agrees, "They think they're invincible and nothing can stop them and these things can end their lives."

The doctors say with their help, parents can make their children aware and protect them from these potentially deadly diseases.