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Cases of STDs in South Dakota on the rise
Date: 2013-12-11 15:01:56

A report released this month noted that the number of sexually transmitted disease cases in South Dakota has risen from the median average of the last five years. Published by the state's Department of Health, the results detailed the increase in cases of gonorrhea, syphilis, HIV and chlamydia.

According to the findings, HIV and chlamydia rose the least, with instances for both in the neighborhood of 22 and 25 percent increases, respectively. However, it was gonorrhea and syphilis that saw the biggest spike in cases, as their numbers were up by 76 percent and 1,050 percent, respectively.

Many STDs can go untreated, as they do not display noticeable symptoms. For instance, those infected with HIV would display symptoms equivalent to that of a flu or common cold. Because of this, these diseases are not detected unless specifically tested for.

"Sometimes you'll never know. It's simply found by screening and that's the scary part," said Melissa Shefl, a physician's assistant at the Sanford Health Vermillion Clinic in South Dakota.

"The majority of the people we see are 15- to 24-year-olds, and that is your student as far as high school student to a college student," added registered nurse Joan Beach, a member of the Family Planning department at Vermillion.

In order to spread HIV awareness on college campuses, Planned Parenthood and the Sanford Health Clinic work together throughout the year, teaching the importance of practicing safe sex and getting tested regularly for STDs.

Facts about STDs in America... Full Story

New lab test can detect chlamydia in less than 20 minutes
Date: 2013-12-18 14:01:30

Researchers have developed a new qualitative and quantitative procedure for swift detection of chlamydia that can be easily carried out at the point of care during a patient's visit. Being able to rapidly identify one of the most common sexually transmitted diseases that affects humans is the result of successful lab tests and is a massive step forward in the treatment of STDs.

Published in the Journal of Molecular Diagnostics, the research was led by Ulo Langel, Ph.D., professor of molecular biotechnology at the University of Tartu in Estonia.

The procedure detects chlamydia directly from urine samples as opposed to the traditional method of purifying total DNA from samples, which is a far more tedious process. Because of this, the new method eliminates the necessity of specialized equipment, reducing the cost of chlamydia detection procedures and taking up less time. Its simplicity makes it applicable to various point-of-care environments, from private practices to large-scale hospitals.

Current techniques for testing the presence of chlamydia are only acceptable for hospital use with professionally trained staff and expensive machinery that small practices typically cannot afford. Some studies have also shown that half of patients who come in for exams do not return to receive results or adequate treatment. Even though numerous point-of-care lab tests have previously been established, none of them are as efficient as hospital exams. Analysis showed the reliability of the new procedure, with sensitivity at 83 percent and specificity of diagnosis at 100 percent.

"The alarmingly poor performance of the available POC tests for C. trachomatis has limited their wider use, and there is a clear requirement for more sensitive and cost-effective diagnostic platforms. Hence, the need for an applicable on-site test that offers reasonably sensitive detection," affirmed Langel.

Chlamydia in the US... Full Story

Spike in cases of STDs in Oregon county
Date: 2013-12-23 14:57:40

A county in Oregon is experiencing an increase in cases of sexually transmitted diseases, with both gonorrhea and syphilis leading all other cases by a significant margin. Public health officials in Lane County worry about the prevalence and are asking doctors and residents to be more vigilant in prevention and reporting.

According to Disease Surveillance Data from the state's Public Health Department, Oregon has seen a large increase in the number of reported syphilis cases over the last six years, while gonorrhea has remained at stable numbers in the same amount of time. However, by the end of November 2013, Lane County had more than 200 reported cases of gonorrhea, a 60 percent increase from 2012. While the number of syphilis cases is relatively small at 23, the previous pattern in the area was one or two cases per year.

"Occasionally, if you look over a 10-year period, we do have little outbreaks of sexually transmitted diseases. This one is lasting longer than we want, and it's significantly higher than we want, so it's concerning," said Paul Luedtke, Lane County Public Health Officer.

While Luedtke places blame on a few different trends, the economic recession can take a large portion of it. The unemployment rate in the area rose above 10 percent, leaving many of the county's citizens without access to affordable health care. This can have many negative implications when it comes to STD testing due to a lack of diagnoses and reporting. In order to curb this concern, Lane County restarted the practice of clinics open once a week to see patients with STDs.

Additionally, Luedtke would also like physicians to research deeper into diagnoses and treatments of various STDs, specifically gonorrhea and syphilis. The previously recommended dosage for treating gonorrhea was 125 milligrams of the antibiotic ceftriaxone, however, the number is now 250 mg, as the bacteria developed a stronger resistance to the drug.

The use of ceftriaxone... Full Story

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