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Alaska gonorrhea numbers continue to rise in 2010

ANCHORAGE, Alaska - A large increase in reported gonorrhea cases in Alaska in 2009 is being cited in a new report being issued Monday by the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. According to the report, 990 cases of gonorrhea were reported in Alaska in 2009, representing a 69 percent increase in the gonorrhea infection rate compared to 2008. Alaska moved from being ranked in the mid-20s to number nine nationally for gonorrhea infection, with a rate of approximately 144.3 cases per 100,000 population; the national average is 99.1 cases per 100,000 population. Between 2000 and 2008, Alaska had an average annual rate of only 85 reported cases per 100,000 population.

Alaska remains ranked second for Chlamydia infections with a rate of 752.7 per 100,000 population - second only to Mississippi with a rate of 802.7 

"The case reports have actually changed for 2009," said Susan Jones, manager of the State's HIV/STD program. "Our current count for gonorrhea cases in 2009 is 1,006, and we've already surpassed that number for 2010, so unfortunately our national ranking might increase even further next year. This statewide outbreak underscores the importance of people at risk for a sexually transmitted infection to get tested and treated, notify their partners if they are diagnosed with an STD, and take the necessary precautions to stop any further spread of the infection."

Jones expects the report to be consistent with recent studies that show Alaska STD rates on the rise across the board geographically, but disproportionately higher among the Alaska Native population.

To find a place in your community to get tested, call the local public health nursing center, family planning or Planned Parenthood Center, or the Alaska Native Regional Health Corporation in your area.


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