Increase in cases of HIV in Fairbanks

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FAIRBANKS, Alaska (KTVF) The Alaska Department of Health and Social Service had reported that the Fairbanks has seen an unusual increase in cases of HIV in recent months, according to a health advisory.

In a recent press release, Health officials in Alaska have put out a warming that cases of HIV have risen significantly in a short time period for the Fairbanks area. (Photo Courtesy of Storyblocks Enterprise)

In a recent press release, Health officials in Alaska have put out a warming that cases of HIV have risen significantly in a short time period for the Fairbanks area.

"What we did is that we noticed that there was an uptick in case reports in the Fairbanks area over a short period of time. And when we had 6 case reports starting from the end of May through August. It was concerning to us and the characteristics of the cases were real similar," said Susan Jones, the HIV/STD Program Manager for the Alaska Health Department.

According to the health department, those infected were men between the ages of 21 and 33 and five were either in the military or reported having sex with someone in the military.

Health officials interviewed the infected men and learned the identities of their partners, who have also been offered health services. The department reported many of the sexual encounters are anonymous, so many of those exposed are not able to be notified or tested.

The state sent the letter to ask Fairbanks-area health care providers to screen patients for risks associated with HIV and promote prevention and testing.

"We are just inviting people to come in and get tested, to be open and frank with their providers, if they can report it to public health, so we can help identify any other individuals at risk and knowing when you talk to public health its confidential and voluntary," Said Jones.

One such health resource in Fairbanks is the Interior Aids association which provides counseling, testing and medical care for those infected with sexually transmitted diseases.

Nearby testing locations can be found at www.gettested.gov.

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