After two years of declining chlamydia rates, chlamydia and gonorrhea incidence increased in Alaska during the final quarter of 2012 and the first quarter of 2013, according to Susan Jones, state HIV/STD program manager. STD rates peaked in 2010 and then fell 5 percent in 2011 and another 7 percent in 2012 before the unexplained uptick began last fall.
State epidemiologists are processing final data and interviewing people diagnosed with gonorrhea to understand more about the incidence increase. Jones identified people who found sexual partners on the Internet as a high-risk group of special interest. She noted that partners found online often did not reveal their STD status, and cautioned that the location of an infection could differ depending on the type of intercourse in which people engaged. People should have all exposure sites tested for chlamydia, including the throat, rectum, and genital area.
Although antibiotics can cure chlamydia easily, approximately 85 percent of infected people do not realize they have an infection. Jones advised that the sexual partners of a person with chlamydia also needed testing and treatment. The state has launched a social media campaign on sites such as Facebook and Pandora to reach high-risk groups, and sponsors the Wrap it Up AK campaign, which allows people to order condoms online. Additionally, the Alaska Native Tribal Health Consortium offers STD home testing kits online through the Web site www.iknowmine.org.