The goal of the South Dakota Sexually Transmitted Infection (STI) Control Program is to reduce and prevent the incidence of sexually transmitted diseases, including HIV infection.
The STI Program provides statewide consultation and technical assistance, partner services, screening, surveillance, health care provider education, case management, and partner notification for reportable STIs in the state.
Sexually Transmitted Infections (STI)
In response to the rising STI rates, SD DOH is replacing our current funding support to offer a new funding opportunity to organizations and institutions.
Symptoms & Prevention
If you are sexually active, or thinking of becoming sexually active, it is important that you Talk. Test. Treat. to protect your health. These three small actions can have a big impact on your sexual health! Find more information on the CDC's website.
There are many factors that contribute to increased STIs including, but not limited to, social and economic disparities and other factors such as the asymptomatic nature of some STIs. In addition, statistics show a decrease in preventative care examinations in 2020.
In South Dakota, we collect information on syphilis, gonorrhea, HIV, hepatitis, and chlamydia. Data is showing increases across all STIs with the highest surges in Minnehaha, Pennington, Todd, and Oglala Lakota counties.
Despite STIs being preventable, they remain a significant public health problem. Nationally, STIs have been increasing. Syphilis, which reached historic lows in 2000, has increased at an unprecedented rate across the nation. In South Dakota, we are also seeing increases in babies born with syphilis or stillborn babies born to mothers with syphilis.
Overall, increased rates of all STI infections support the need to promote safe-sex practices such as abstinence, using condoms, getting the HPV vaccine, having fewer partners, communicating with partners, and getting tested.
The signs and symptoms depend on the infection; for example, a person may find a painless sore, a rash, discharge, pain, and swelling; or it is possible to not exhibit any symptoms at all. If a person is practicing unsafe sex, it is best to talk with your healthcare provider about testing. A healthcare provider can do a simple urine or blood test to determine if a person has an STI. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) also provides information about the signs and symptoms of each infection on its website.
How often you should be tested will vary depending on a person’s behavioral and biological risks and should be discussed with one’s healthcare provider. The Department of Health (DOH) also provides free testing at local DOH clinics, as well as assists community organizations with testing events throughout the state.
It is possible for an individual to not know they are infected with an STI. Many of the signs and symptoms can be mistaken for something else, or go unnoticed, leaving the infection to persist. If left untreated, examples of long-term complications include infertility, chronic pelvic pain, increased risk of other STIs, increased risk of HIV, and in some cases, cancer. With untreated syphilis, one can experience neurological and systemic complications many years after the initial infection, and mothers can pass the infection on to their babies which can cause premature births, birth defects, and infant death.