Why Are STD Rates So High In Liberia?

Sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) have been the reason for the high mortality rates and the declined quality of life all around the world for many years now. However, with the discovery of penicillin and other antibiotics, we have successfully reduced the high STD rates. There are still some countries such as Liberia, where the STD rates are dangerously high. 

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How common are STDs in Liberia?

In 2016, there has been a total of 2900 new HIV cases, whereas 2800 people have lost their lives because of this life-threatening disease. HIV/AIDS is considered to be one of the leading causes of death in Liberia. But it is not only the rates of HIV/AIDS that are high – other STDs such as syphilis, gonorrhea, and Chlamydia are often diagnosed among the people in Libera as well. Syphilis, for instance, had killed 124 people back in 2017.

The reasons behind the high STD rates in Liberia

As we all know, it is the early diagnosis and the proper treatment using a combination of prescribed medications that is the answer to the continuous decline of STD rates around the world. However, it seems that for the people of Liberia, including their doctors and medical practitioners, traditional medicine is the answer rather than following the advice that WHO (World Health Organization) is providing us with.

It was as early as 1992 when a group of researchers found out what has been causing the continuous growth of the already high STD rates. They published their findings with the hope of changing things as they are. In the study published in Social Science & Medicine, they talked about the use of traditional medicine for the purposes of treating the common STDs.

Even the worst of them have been treated with the use of herbal teas and discussed in secrecy because of the common belief that they are dealing with black magic. STDs and sexual health are considered to be taboo in Liberia as well as in many other centuries still, until this day. It is HIV/AIDS that is most often discussed as sorcery and believed that there is no cure for it, despite the existence of antiretroviral therapy (ART) that is widely used in the rest of the world.

Luckily, the home tests for the common STDs have been invented. These tests allow the individual to test himself/herself at home and later receive the results in complete anonymity. This does help the case, especially in countries, such as Liberia, where talking about STDs and sexual health is linked to feelings of shame and blame. Still, the need for a proper treatment instead of the use of traditional medicine continues to exist. And until a change is not introduced in their usual practice of traditional medicine, we are only looking into a horrifying and rapid increase in mortality rates due to STDs.

Mortality Rates Are On The Rise

Liberia is not excluded from being one of the countries around the world that faces struggles with the common STDs. In fact, Liberia is considered to be one of the countries with the highest STD rates as well as high mortality rates due to the common STDs, especially HIV/AIDS. The reason for these high rates being the fact that until this day, STDs are believed to be sorcery that can only be treated with the common practice of traditional medicine.

References

https://www.unaids.org/en/regionscountries/countries/liberia

https://www.worldlifeexpectancy.com/liberia-syphilis

https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/027795369290048U

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