Syphilis cases in South Dakota, up exponentially

Published: May. 17, 2022 at 5:19 PM MDT
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RAPID CITY, S.D. (KEVN) - Across the nation sexually transmitted diseases are on the rise and right here in South Dakota, syphilis has jumped nearly 2,144% this year. The Great Plains Tribal Leaders Health Board wants people to know about the increase and share how to prevent the spread.

In 2022 there have been 404 cases according to the South Dakota Department of Health website. That is 386 over the five-year average of 18, in just the first half of 2022. An epidemiologist with the Great Plains Tribal Leaders Health Board, says that most people do not even know they have an STD like syphilis. Meghan O’Connell stressed the high priority for those that are pregnant and could contract the disease. During birth, the baby may contract syphilis and become extremely sick or may be stillborn. Luckily, treatment for syphilis is quite easy and can usually be cured with a shot of penicillin.

“A lot of people will get. They may come in when they have one of the sores or another symptom and then that goes away. Those symptoms will go away without treatment on their own, but that doesn’t mean they are not infected anymore,” explains, O’Connell. “Once you get treated it doesn’t take very long. We usually recommend abstaining from sexual activity for a while.”

O’Connell says getting tested, is a relief to know you are STD-free, and if you do have an STD, it is critical to get the treatment and limit the spread, among others.

Click here to learn more about sexually transmitted diseases.

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