State experiencing outbreak of Gonorrhea

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Alaska is seeing an outbreak in a dangerous sexually transmitted disease. In a notice today, public health officials say an outbreak of Gonorrhea first reported in October 2017 led researchers to find Alaska’s rate of infection is 297 per 100,000 compared to the national average of 145.8 per 100,000.

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Left untreated, Gonorrhea can lead to infertility, facilitate the risk of HIV and lead to problems with pregnancies. Nationwide, the number of cases reported to health officials is steadily increasing. But Alaska’s rates have shot up. In 2017, 2,190 incidents were reported, representing a 51 percent increase from the prior year.

The state’s Section of Epidemiology attributes the rise to several factors. Those include healthcare providers doing a better job screening for the disease, an increase in incidents principally among men because of risky sexual behaviors, diminished access to healthcare and fewer resources for prevention.

Researchers say the data suggest Alaska has the second highest rate of Gonorrhea in the country. However, according to statistics from the Centers for Disease Control, current national rates are still significantly lower than recent periods during the 70s and 80s.

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Zachariah Hughes reports on city & state politics, arts & culture, drugs, and military affairs in Anchorage and South Central Alaska. @ZachHughesAK About Zachariah