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U.S. News

Kansas: Sergeant's Case a Cautionary Tale of STDs

September 29, 2010

"Sedgwick County's health department is using the case of an Air Force sergeant accused of having unprotected sex without disclosing his HIV-positive status as a teachable moment. And a warning.

"Almost all the county's syphilis cases can be traced back to anonymous sexual encounters that began online, health department Director Claudia Blackburn told Sedgwick County commissioners Wednesday.

"[The sergeant], stationed and now confined at McConnell Air Force Base, has been charged in military court with aggravated assault, adultery, obstructing justice, and other offenses, accused of knowingly having unprotected sex with others without telling them he is HIV-positive.

"Documents say [the sergeant] used adult websites to find casual sex partners and attended 'swinger' parties where promiscuous sex is common. ...

"The executive director of Positive Directions, a Wichita non-profit that provides services to people with HIV and AIDS, noted this week that while people may not relate to swinger parties, some might put themselves at risk by having one-night stands after meeting people at bars.

"Blackburn said 729 people in the county are living with HIV or AIDS. The county recorded 33 new HIV cases last year, up from 13 in 2000. Last year, the county also recorded: 703 new cases of gonorrhea; 2,605 new cases of chlamydia; 32 new cases of syphilis.

"Interviews with clients have shown that two risk factors are associated with most syphilis cases reported in Sedgwick County, Blackburn said.

"Those risk factors are using the Internet and other forms of technology to solicit sex partners, and 'frequency and speed of travel.' Blackburn said one case involved 90 sex partners, 77 percent of whom were out of state, exposed to the disease while the patient was on vacation or business trips.

"Anyone with questions about testing may call the department at 316-660-7300. Because the department is trying to track potential cases related to the charges against [the sergeant], Blackburn said people are asked to mention the McConnell case if applicable."

Back to other news for September 2010

Adapted from:
Wichita Eagle
09.23.2010; Deb Gruver

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This article was provided by CDC National Prevention Information Network. It is a part of the publication CDC HIV/Hepatitis/STD/TB Prevention News Update.
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