"Nationally, intravenous methamphetamine use is becoming a risk factor for HIV/AIDS and we're starting to see that show up in South Dakota as well," said Dr. Lon Kightlinger, State Epidemiologist for the Department of Health. "The other trend we're seeing is use of the internet to hook up with new sex partners."
In response to these trends, the department has trained its disease intervention staff on methamphetamine and connections made through the internet as risk factors for HIV/AIDS. The agency has also incorporated specific questions about these risk factors into protocols for HIV/AIDS case investigation.
"We are also seeing increases in some other sexually transmitted diseases, which is not surprising since the risk factors are the same � injection drug use, multiple partners, unprotected sex," said Dr. Kightlinger. "People who practice these behaviors need to know they are at risk for HIV/AIDS and the whole range of sexually transmitted diseases and hepatitis. The only way to find out whether they're infected is to be tested."
Other findings of the South Dakota surveillance report:
? 495 South Dakota residents have been reported infected with HIV since 1985 when the first case was identified;
? 288 South Dakota residents are currently living with HIV/AIDS;
? 293 South Dakota residents have been diagnosed with AIDS since 1985;
? 28 percent of South Dakotans living with HIV/AIDS were women and 72 percent men;
? among South Dakotans living with HIV/AIDS, the three largest categories of transmission were male-to male sexual transmission at 37 percent, heterosexual transmission at 24 percent and injection drug use at 18 percent.
A copy of the report and information about HIV/AIDS prevention, counseling and testing can be found on the department's Web site at http://www.state.sd.us/doh/HIV/.