Kansas: County's STD Detectives Track to Protect
October 7, 2010
Sedgwick County Health Department disease intervention specialists work to track down people who may have been exposed to STDs, offering testing and treatment in a bid to slow their spread. Their work is confidential, stressed Jason Ybarra, SCHD's senior disease intervention specialist, and their goal is not to judge but to help protect the community.
In the recent case of an Air Force sergeant accused of repeatedly having unprotected sex without disclosing his HIV-positive status, SCHD intervention specialists are working with McConnell Air Force Base officials to ensure a thorough investigation. The sergeant is charged with having unprotected sex with 11 people. According to court documents, he used adult websites to find partners and attended 21 swinger parties.
SCHD officials would not say how many people they are attempting to contact in connection with the case. "We are definitely working on getting folks taken care of," said Ybarra. "We're contacting people to get them tested."
The case highlights the challenges of finding a patient's online sex partners. "People can get online and meet somebody in a different state or city and can be in one place one day and a different city the next," said Ybarra. "Tracing back an infection is difficult when you don't have a real name, just a username on a website."
"I think we have started to see an increase of individuals having met partners through the Internet as a medium," said Sandra Springer, HIV/AIDS program director for the state Department of Health and Environment. Her agency conducts STD education in online adult chat rooms.
"Get to know your partners, and always use protection, regardless of where you're meeting them, whether a bar, bookstore or adult website," said Springer.
10.05.2010; Deb Gruver
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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