ST. LOUIS (KMOX) — Unprotected sex with multiple partners — a lifestyle the St. Louis Health Department blames for a disproportionate number of sexually transmitted diseases in the African American community, a lifestyle it hope to change through a new safe sex campaign.
Health Commissioner Melba Moore spoke before the Aldermanic Health Committee in favor of a bill that would lift old restrictions on condom distribution to combat a casual sex ethic that has African Americans representing 78 percent of the regions gonorrhea cases, 61 percent of the areas chlamydia cases and 54 percent of the region’s HIV/AIDS cases. READ MORE: Aldermen Consider Change To 1934 Condom Law
“You can’t just look at someone and tell they’re OK,” Moore said, “That’s why you have to use a condom.”
The plan calls for distributing condoms, along with a safe sex message, through barber shops, salons and concerts.
Moore says the message for men and women is to be careful and know the risks.
“I think the driving force is for women to say ‘no,'” Moore said, “I think the message for men is taking personal responsibility.”
Looking at the numbers, Moore says the city suffered a “slight increase” last year in STDs, but remains about average for “cities of comparable size.”
- In 2012 there were 3,894 gonorrhea cases. Forty-five percent were within the city of St. Louis. Fifty-seven percent were among 13-24 year olds.
- In 2012 there were 11.215 cases of chlamydia reported in the St. Louis region. Forty-two percent were within the city of St. Louis, with 60 percent of the cases among 13-24 year olds
- In 2012 there were 5,482 cases of HIV/AIDS in the St. Louis region. Fifty-eight percent were within the city of St. Louis, with 32 percent among 13-24 year olds.