A dramatic spread of sexually transmitted disease associated with
prostitution has led officials with the Oklahoma City-County Health
Department to endorse a Senate bill that would increase the fines
Prostitution and related activities such as illegal drug use and
alcohol abuse have a significant negative impact upon public health
and contribute to the overall poor health of Oklahomans, according
to Paul Dungan, director of Oklahoma City-County Health Department.
About 125 people each week request evaluation or treatment for
sexually transmitted diseases through the Oklahoma City-County
Health Department's Sexually Transmitted Disease clinic. One out of
every four of these clients test positive for one of the most common
sexually transmitted diseases (syphilis, gonorrhea or chlamydia).
Syphilis, the most potentially devastating of the three, was
diagnosed once out of every 25 clients seen in the clinic. That
ratio has caused Oklahoma City to be ranked the sixth highest in the
country for syphilis cases among cities with similar population
demographics, according to Dungan.
A study of how clinic patients report being exposed to sexually
transmitted diseases, including syphilis, has shown an association
Senate Bill 1502, authored by Sen. Keith Leftwich and Rep. Al
Lindley, both D-Oklahoma City, proposes to raise the maximum
available fine for prostitution to $7,500 for a prostitute's third
offense and $6,000 for a customer's third offense.
According to Dungan, any opportunity to remove easy access to
high-risk behavior enhances the likelihood that public health
efforts will be successful in preventing disease. Senate Bill 1502,
if passed, has the potential to make great strides toward removing
prostitution from our streets and consequently exposure to sexually
transmitted diseases, he said.
Oklahoma Board of Nursing
The state of Oklahoma is now allowing nurses to renew their
licenses on the Internet and employers to conduct online license
verification through the Oklahoma Board of Nursing's new Web site.
The service can be found at www.YourOklahoma.com and is a result
of a public-private partnership between the agency and NIC USA.
This year, the board expects to renew nearly 31,000 nursing
professionals, more than half of the state's 48,000 licensed nurses.
According to Kim Glazier, executive director of the Oklahoma
Board of Nursing, the goal of the online renewal service is to save
Oklahoma's nurses time by speeding up what is currently a paper-
"Nurses can benefit a great deal by using the Internet to
instantly renew their licenses," Glazier said. "With this system,
licensees can take care of their renewal transactions in the manner
that best meets their needs, rather than having to conform to
regular business hours or spend time filling out and mailing in
paperwork. We've had numerous requests for this service,
particularly from nurses who live and work outside of Oklahoma City,
so we made creating this service a priority."
Nursing professionals need only be prepared with the renewal
notice they receive in the mail and a credit card. A typical online
renewal takes about five minutes to complete.
In addition to offering online license renewals, organizations
that employ nurses will now be able to quickly conduct license
verifications through the site as well.
Contact Crisis Helpline of Oklahoma City has been awarded
accreditation of its helpline by Contact USA, a national
organization and network of telephone helpline and crisis
intervention centers in the United States.
Formal recognition of certification will occur at the Contact USA
National Conference in May.
Darren W. Goff, of Edmond, has joined the staff of the OU
Physicians Women's Health Center. Goff, an obstetrician/
gynecologist, specializes in complex laparoscopic hysterectomies for
large women as well as other obstetric and gynecological services. …