Anchorage Daily News reported that data recently released by the Alaska Department of Health and Social Services confirmed increases in the state’s chlamydia and gonorrhea rates in 2013. The department reported 5,792 new chlamydia cases and 1,135 new gonorrhea cases last year. These rates indicated a significant increase from the previous year, including an approximately 80-percent increase in gonorrhea infections. Youth, women, and minorities had the highest rates, and the northern and southwestern areas of Alaska had the highest prevalence. The department also published data last month on the state’s high syphilis rate in 2013. The data emphasized the connection between this increase and an increase in HIV infections. Anchorage men accounted for most of the increase in syphilis rates, with the majority identifying as bisexual, gay, or having had sex with other men. Many had met their sexual partners online. Susan Jones, HIV and STD program manager for the state health department, explained that she did not have details on the chlamydia and gonorrhea infections, as the number of cases did not allow for time to interview patients. Alaska has had problems with gonorrhea and chlamydia for some time. CDC has ranked the state’s chlamydia rate as highest or second-highest in the country since 2000. Gonorrhea rates had decreased by mid-2012, but have increased once more. According to Jones, preliminary rankings place Alaska first in the nation for chlamydia rates in 2013 and fifth for gonorrhea.
- National News