Rapid City Journal (12.04.12)
South Dakota has had an increase in sexually transmitted diseases, which is being blamed on meeting partners online, a changing population, and a relaxed view of risks. Chlamydia rates have doubled from the late 1990s, and gonorrhea is twice as common as it was five years ago. There have been 17 cases of syphilis this year, compared to no cases reported last year.
Two physicians from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) spent two weeks in South Dakota at the invitation of the Northern Plains Tribal Epidemiology Center in Rapid City and officials on the Pine Ridge and Cheyenne River reservations. As a result of the visit, health officials in South Dakota will treat gonorrhea using expedited partner therapy, in which a clinician provides a patient with a sexually transmitted disease a drug prescription for a sex partner without having examined the partner.
In Sioux Falls, health officials began a program to fight HIV/AIDS and other STDs, using a three-year grant of $390,000 from CDC, which is channeled through the state’s Health Department. City officials have offered HIV testing at many events since June and offer it on Mondays at a community health clinic.