State health officials say an increase in online dating and anonymous sex is contributing to some of the highest numbers of STDs in years.
The statistics are staggering.
At the end of last month there were 560 reported cases of gonorrhea in South Dakota. That's up 80 percent from the past five years.
The number of syphilis cases have increased to 23 this year. That may not sound like a lot but typically the state may only see one case for the entire year.
South Dakota is seeing the biggest syphilis outbreak it has seen in years and it is primarily here in Minnehaha County.
State Epidemiologist Lon Kightlinger said the Internet is the driving force.
"It's among men who are having sex with other men that find partners online and they're typically anonymous.. So people don't know their name or really where the person is from. They meet for a liaison and a couple weeks later, syphilis," said Kightlinger.
Falls Community Health Clinical Services Manager Judy Kendall said she's had patients tell her that they are using such web sites as Grindr and Craig's List to find sex partners.
"There's so much more anonymous sex, they don't know the partners and they certainly don't know names. It's hard to track down so therefore it's really hard to go out and find contacts and get them treated. Years ago we weren't seeing all that because we didn't have the Internet hook ups that people have access to today," said Kendall.
Kightlinger said he expects the number of STDs to continue to rise in the coming months.
"STDs are like a slow train moving and it's hard to stop," said Kightlinger.
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