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Risky sexual behavior may be causing STD rates to increase in South Dakota

Category: Sexually Transmitted Diseases

Risky sexual behaviors among residents in South Dakota may be causing the rise of sexually transmitted diseases like chlamydia, gonorrhea and syphilis. Experts caution South Dakota residents to be wary when engaging in sexual activity with people met online, a risk factor that area experts have linked to increasing STD rates.

Anonymous Internet hookups
With the rise of Internet dating and related sexual encounters, South Dakota public health officials have noticed an increase in STDs, according to the Argus Leader. The anonymous nature of these sexual encounters often makes the spread of the diseases hard to track, since people often do not know the name of the person from whom they may have contracted the disease.

In 2012, South Dakota had 21 reported cases of syphilis, but that number has already been exceeded this year. There were no reported cases in 2011 and only 10 in the three years prior, according to the news source. Both 2013's rates of chlamydia and gonorrhea cases have climbed ahead of totals for 2012. Heterosexual men and women between the ages of 15 and 40 were the most likely to test positive in STD testing.

Officials noted that people often came seeking STD tests from area clinics without knowing the name of their partner, which makes it difficult to track where the STDs are coming from. Those living in South Dakota may want to consider seeking testing if they are engaging in sexual activity with multiple partners, especially those met online.

STD rates across the country
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention noted that rates for chlamydia and gonorrhea have risen across the country, by 8 percent and 4 percent, respectively, between 2011, the most recent year available, and 2010. The agency reported that rates of chlamydia may only appear to be rising due to increased lab tests targeting the disease.

The CDC also noted that sexually active women should receive yearly screenings for STDs like chlamydia and gonorrhea. A lab test online can provide a discreet means of diagnosis for these diseases and allow for treatment to begin. Women who are pregnant should also be tested for HIV, gonorrhea, hepatitis B and syphilis, which can pass congenitally during childbirth if left untreated.

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