Gonorrhea outbreak puts Alaska in uphill battle with STD

The Anchorage Daily NewsNovember 26, 2010 

An outbreak of gonorrhea across Alaska that began in 2009 is continuing this year, and health officials say they are trying new ways to curb it.

Between 2008 and 2009, the number of gonorrhea cases in Alaska rose an alarming 69 percent, according to a new U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report.

State health officials began calling attention to a spike in gonorrhea cases in Southwest Alaska more than a year ago and highlighted the statewide rise in March.

The new report shows that Alaska ranks ninth in the nation for its rate of gonorrhea, compared with its ranking in recent years in the mid-20s. Alaska also is second in the nation for its high rate of chlamydia, another sexually transmitted disease that often is transmitted along with gonorrhea.

"Hopefully, the high numbers now are more of a success story in that people are coming in and getting tested. Though I am surprised the numbers haven't declined," said Susan Jones, the state's HIV/STD program manager. "It's this continuing rise in numbers that we haven't been able to get under control."

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