Fairbanks Daily News-Miner (06.17.2013)
Although Alaska had the highest STD rates in the nation for years, the Alaska Section of Epidemiology reported that the incidence of chlamydia and gonorrhea has declined since 2010. Alaska’s chlamydia rate still exceeds the national rate of 448 cases per 100,000 people, but it dropped to an incidence rate of 749 per 100,000 Alaska residents in 2012.
Nurse Susan Jones, who manages Alaska’s STD/HIV program, suggested that in addition to high rates, Alaska’s practitioners have been diligent in testing for and reporting STDs. Factors that might have influenced the drop in rates include improved educational outreach and expedited partner therapy, which allows a patient diagnosed with an STD to obtain antibiotics for sexual partners without requiring them to be examined.
Alaska’s gonorrhea rate rose from below the national average to the “third worst” in the United States in 2008, but has since declined to 100 cases per 100,000 residents. Jones stated that the state watched gonorrhea incidence very closely since some strains were drug-resistant. She expressed concern over an “uptick of the case count” in late 2012.
Chlamydia and gonorrhea may have no symptoms, but can cause a “burning sensation when urinating and vaginal or penile discharge.” Soreness or itching may result from an infection in the anus or throat. Untreated infections may cause chronic pelvic pain, male and female infertility, and arthritis.
Detailed information on chlamydia and gonorrhea rates in Alaska is available at http://www.epi.alaska.gov/hivstd/std2010/atlas.html.