KTUU.com (Anchorage, AK) (09.17.2013)
In an effort to address some of the highest STD rates in the nation, Alaska lawmakers have introduced a new STD prevention program that would emphasize the importance of using condoms to protect against disease. The program also would provide access to free STD test kits in the hopes that more people would identify their infection and seek treatment. According to State HIV/STD Program Manager Susan Jones, untreated STDs could cause long-term health effects such as miscarriage, babies born with infections, and complicated infections in both men and women.
The 3-year, $360,000 campaign, funded by the state legislature, is Alaska’s attempt to “get control” of its high rate of incidence and would target the two groups most at risk: teens under 17 and young adults between the ages of 18 and 24. Jones added that some infected residents refused to identify all their sexual partners or to inform their partners of their risk of infection, the consequence of such behavior motivated state health officials to change philosophies on STD prevention strategies.
The new strategy, according to Jones, was to embrace “unique” approaches, includes using humor as a means to encourage condom use and open dialogue about safe sex. "We are hoping that this campaign will put some of the responsibility on the folks that are sexually active and they will try to protect themselves and their partners by using condoms," Jones said.
Free condoms and STD kits can be ordered online at www.iknowmine.org.