Tracking a taboo illness in Tohono O'odham country
Not that the tribe is alone in this fight. Syphilis has resurged across the United States, with more than 33,000 cases now reported each year. But battling a heavily stigmatized, sexually transmitted disease among the quite modest O'odham requires a particularly delicate touch.
Out here, you won't find explicit billboard warnings against careless sex, or hear radio announcements taking directly about STDs. Like the rangy land they inhabit, the O'odham prefer a round-about approach.