HATTIESBURG, MS (WDAM) - The Lists is an ongoing series exploring how and why Mississippi is on the bottom or top of so many lists that rate aspects of the American experience.
Year to year, Mississippi is routinely ranked highest in several dangerous STDS. In 2012, Mississippi ranked highest in the nation for four STDS: Chlamydia, Gonorrhea, HIV, and Syphilis.
An anonymous Pine Belt resident who contracted a dangerous STD at a young age said living with the illness is a constant battle.
"I wasn't really prepared for anything that I was told," said the source.
"I was diagnosed with genital herpes around when I was 15-years-old," said the source. "You worry about people accepting you; having intimate relationships, I mean, it comes up definitely because you don't know if they are going to accept you. You don't know when to tell them."
According to Andrea Carter, a Gynecologist at Wesley Medical Center, people who aren't in a monogamous relationship should be screened annually for STDS.
"Your OBGYN knows all about STDS, and even the family practice doctors that you see out in town, they know all about it, so it should not be embarrassing at all to ask about that," said Carter. "Basically, it's something that affects everyone, its not just in a certain socioeconomic class or race, you know, or age; it's everywhere."
Carter also said that the best way to prevent STDS is by educating young adults, and to engage in an open dialogue with your doctor.
"It's very important for parents to talk to their children because the highest number of STDS are in adolescents," said Carter. "Of course, abstinence is the key, but adolescents don't always listen to their parents. Condom use is very important to discuss with children and for adults to use condoms too, but condoms do not prevent all STDS."