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HIV cases up in
South Dakota

HIV cases up in
South Dakota

Health officials say crystal meth use and anonymous sex are leading to more HIV transmissions.

New HIV diagnoses in South Dakota nearly doubled in 2005, leaving health officials worried that state residents are becoming less likely to practice safer sex, The Sioux Falls Argus Leader reports. The state reported 19 new HIV cases in 2004, but that number rose to 33 cases in 2005.

"I would characterize it as a worrisome trend," state epidemiologist Lon Kightlinger told the newspaper. "We're up 33% over a five-year median. We're headed in the wrong direction."

Kightlinger says much of the rise in new HIV diagnoses is the result of increasing rates of anonymous sex among gay and bisexual men who use the Internet to meet sex partners. He also says crystal methamphetamine use frequently leads to unprotected sex and possible exposure to HIV and other sexually transmitted diseases.

South Dakota has the nation's second-lowest number of AIDS cases and third-lowest number of HIV-positive people. Health officials say there are currently 288 HIV-positive people living in the state, 72% of whom are men. (

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