State Epidemiologist: Internet Increasing STDs in South Dakota

If I didn’t know better, I’d think the Aberdeen paper was trying to make us bloggers out to be evil. AAN’s Shannon Marvel posts a story this afternoon blaming South Dakota’s surge in sexually transmitted diseases on the Internet!

Sexually transmitted diseases are making their biggest comeback since the 1970s in South Dakota, and the Internet is contributing to the problem.

At least that’s the take of the state epidemiologist.

…What I think is driving this new outbreak is the use of social media to make contacts, and people look for sex,” [state epidemiologist Lon Kightlinger] said.

“It works in all directions — for men and women, boys and girls, but also men for men. People often don’t know the names of the people that they are having sex with, so it’s really hard to follow up on that” [Shannon Marvel, “Social Media Leads to Spike in STD Numbers, State Epidemiologist Says,” Aberdeen American News, 2015.08.04].

Marvel also got Spike in her headline. Middle school readers, I welcome your giggles.

For what it’s worth, it’s not my fault! Brown County, a hotbed of blogging, does not appear to be following the trend:

Kightlinger said in a phone interview that while state numbers are increasing quickly, the problem isn’t so drastic in Brown County.

“Brown County hasn’t really been in the lead on this,” Kightliner said. “So far, for example, the county has had three or less cases of gonorrhea this year. For chlamydia, it’s 53, and syphilis it’s three or less, but in the latent phase so it’s not infectious” [Marvel, 2015.08.04].

Clap-clap for Brown County… or should I say no clap?

Kightlinger may have some science on his side (read this 2013 article with a set of links, this 2013 study finding Craigslist increased HIV 16%). However, there is also evidence that public health officials can use social media to fight the spread of STDs. You just have to go where the action is.

But you know what they say: social media don’t give people STDs; people give people STDs.

8 Responses to State Epidemiologist: Internet Increasing STDs in South Dakota

  1. mike from iowa

    It’s them damn wi-fi connections,I’m telling ya. Never know who or what has rubbed up against them.

  2. Statistics show that, Brown County aside, STDs are more prevalent in those regions of our Great State of South Dakota some refer to as libbie-land.

  3. Roger Elgersma

    Is everyone in Brown county looking at your blog Cory, are you distracting them from those other thoughts?

  4. Douglas Wiken

    Abstinence teaching won’t help bloggers……………or anybody else for that matter except the paid purveyors of that without actual sex education.

  5. Your blog could be sued. Not only do you fail to post a warning that people should wear gloves when commenting here, you have nothing about latex allergies and someone could go into anaphylactic shock while commenagsgnb[… comment-%)_$//… *urrk*

  6. Roger, as far as I know, no one has ever found a sexual partner by participating in conversations on this blog. I would speculate that the STD transmission rate of Dakota Free Press is 0.0%. Nothing but good clean fun.

    Now someone call a medic for Father Tim! ;-)

  7. Porter Lansing

    If any voter wonders why South Dakota’s extreme aversion to change and the widespread belief that “new things are bad” continues seemingly unabated; that newspaper’s extrapolation of electronic interactivity is Exhibit “A”. #MennoniteMentality

  8. Deb Geelsdottir

    Good one Tim.

    Cory, are you having fun with innuendo?