Health Officials Encourage STD Testing
Alaska ranks high in chlamydia infections
ALASKA - Alaska has been first or second in the nation when it comes to chlamydia infections.
It is a dubious distinction we’ve held since 2000 according to the state Department of Health.
Those high rates are prompting health officials to again put out a warning and urge people to get tested.
Officials say a 2009 gonorrhea outbreak in Bethel changed the way people with the disease were treated.
"So if they get diagnosed with gonorrhea, they tell us how many partners they've had in the last three months and we give them doses of medicine to take to their partner," said David Compton, an OBGYN doctor in Bethel.
After starting the program for the first time in four years Bethel recorded a decrease of new gonorrhea cases, they’re hoping by getting the word out they can start using the program statewide.
There is also a new way for people living in more remote areas to test themselves for gonorrhea and chlamydia.
People can order a free kit online and send their samples back in a pre-paid envelope.
"Anybody who is interested from the age of 14 and above can go to the website and order their testing kit which will be sent to their house and they can collect the specimens in the privacy of their own home and they can send it back to the laboratory for testing," said Connie Jensen, STD program manager of the Alaska Native Tribal Health Consortium.
If you would like to order a testing kit please visit go to our on air links to find out more.