FAIRBANKS, Alaska For almost 20 years Alaska has ranked among the highest in the nation in STD statistics. In a bulletin put out by the department of health and social services for the state of Alaska, numbers are continuing to increase.
Susan Jones STD-HIV Program Manager with the Department of Epidemiology with the State of Alaska division of Public Health said Alaska is reporting a lot of chlamydia.
“This report also shows that our rates are so much higher than the U-S average, so I think that the first thing that people are seeing is the highest number of reported cases of Chlamydia that we have seen in a long time.” she said.
Jones says the number of Chlamydia case numbers nationwide has risen for the fourth year in a row.
Chlamydia is one of those infections that are A- symptomatic in 85 percent of the people that have it. So individuals don’t always know that they have infection. Jones also pointed out that Chlamydia is the number one cause of infertility in women, and it occurs when women have had repeated infections, or their infections have progressed to a complicated pelvic uterus infection, and it can lead to infertility.
“Once you have chlamydia you are actually more susceptible to it a second time, especially viruses. Once you have a virus you become kind of immune to it, you build up immunity, that’s not the way it is with chlamydia. That might be one of the reasons we have such high rates,
The more times you have chlamydia the more likely you are likely to have complications and the more times you have complications the more likely you are to have infertility,” she said.
According to the report 85 percent of the people that reported Chlamydia did not show symptoms.
"It is primarily in persons that are young. Like 76 percent of the people with Chlamydia infection are reported in 2018 were under the age of 29," said Jones.
The highest rates were in 20-24 year olds, but it is also in the age groups that is just below that 15-19 year olds. This is because younger adults are more likely to engage in high risk sexual activities.
“You’re at risk for chlamydia if you are having sex. If you’re not protecting yourself when you are having sex, if you’re not using safer sex practices, you’re not using latex condoms, then you are susceptible to infection. If you are in a mutually monogamous relationship and you know the other person doesn’t have an STD then you can do all kinds of sexual activities with that person,” she said.
This type of infection can effect men and women.
"A lot of people think that men don't get Chlamydia. But they do," she said.
Although women report a higher number of cases, this may be because of several reasons, one being that women are more likely to go in for annual checkups. She said it doesn’t matter if you are a man or woman get checked regularly, use safe sex practices and be open to start the conversation. She said parents should talk to their children, and Partners need to talk to each other.
For more information on safe sex practices https://www.iknowmine.org/other-cool-stuff/wrapitupak