South Dakota Reports Increase in HIV, STI Cases in 2008
HIV/AIDS cases in South Dakota increased from 25 cases in 2007 to 34 cases in 2008, and prevalence of sexually transmitted infections reached record levels, according to an infectious disease report released recently by the South Dakota Department of Health, the AP/Sioux City Journal reports.
The state also reported 2,948 cases of chlamydia, an increase of more than 300 cases from 2007. In addition, reports of gonorrhea increased by over 29% to 370 cases, the highest recorded since 1988. The report found that STIs occur most frequently among people ages 15 to 24, followed by people ages 25 to 39. Lon Kightlinger, state epidemiologist, added that an improved Indian Health Service screening program could account for the reported increase in chlamydia cases among Native Americans in the state.
Kightlinger said the increase in STI cases likely stemmed from failures to follow basic HIV and STI prevention guidelines, such as abstinence and monogamous sex. Kightlinger said addressing STIs requires "a complex bag of prevention, treatment and personal behavior," which includes "more abstinence, monogamy, and if that fails, safe[r] sex." Charon Asetoyer, executive director of the Native American Women's Health Education Resource Center, said the data "are proof that young people need sex education to be able to protect themselves." She added, "If you do not have the tools to protect yourself -- the information -- you are going to see an increase in the number of" STIs (AP/Sioux City Journal, 1/12).