Natalie Krebs / Side Effects Public Media

Sexually transmitted infections, or STIs, have been on the rise for years. But the COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted public health efforts to address the problem, and this has some worried about a surge in cases.

FDA Launches Criminal Investigation Into Unauthorized Herpes Vaccine Research

Apr 12, 2018
Al Drago/CQ Roll Call

The Food and Drug Administration has launched a criminal investigation into research by a Southern Illinois University professor who injected people with his unauthorized herpes vaccine, Kaiser Health News has learned.

With STDs On The Rise, Google Wants To Help Researchers Track Outbreaks

Dec 16, 2015
Amy Johnson, a PhD candidate in public health at the University of Illinois-Chicago, is working on a model to use Google searches to track the spread of sexually transmitted diseases in real time.
Mary Chris Jaklevic / KHN

With sexually transmitted diseases on the rise, researchers at the University of Illinois at Chicago think they might have a powerful new weapon to fight their spread: Google searches.

The nation’s leading search engine has quietly begun giving researchers access to its data troves to develop analytical models for tracking infectious diseases in real time or close to it. UIC is one of at least four academic institutions that have received access so far, along with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

You can use an app to buy a new dress, rent a room or pay your bills. Now, you can use an app to discreetly find out if you have a sexually transmitted disease.

Leon Richardson is 18 years old and tall, charismatic and thoughtful about his sexual health.

He understands that as a young, gay black man, he is in the demographic with the highest rate of HIV infections in the country. But when Richardson learned that he could be part of an HIV prevention pill research study for young people, he was skeptical.

"I was scared. I had to really think about it, 'What is this drug going to do to me?' " he says.

An Indianapolis nonprofit called Saving Orphans through Healthcare Outreach teamed up with Crispus Attucks High School to send local students interested in medicine to Swaziland for two weeks to meet with teens there. Field producer Andrea Muraskin talks with students and teachers about their experiences and reactions on day-to-day life in Swaziland.

You can see video from the trip here.