Alaska Has Low Rates of HIV, High Rates of Other STIs, Health Department Says
Alaska ranks first or second nationwide in the number of chlamydia cases but relatively low in the number of HIV/AIDS cases, according to new data from the Alaska Division of Public Health, the AP/Juneau Empire reports.
The state ranked 25th nationwide in gonorrhea cases and 28th in syphilis cases, but HIV prevalence remains low, according to the report. Although chlamydia typically facilitates HIV transmission, it is unclear whether that is the case in Alaska because the state has a high rate of chlamydia but low HIV prevalence, according to Mollie Rosier, manager of the Section of Epidemiology's HIV/STD program. There is no answer as to why the state has such high rates of chlamydia and gonorrhea, Donna Cerere, who worked on the report, said. She added that it could be because of more sensitive tests.
Alaska reported 4,911 chlamydia cases in 2007, an 8% increase from 2006, according to the report. The state reported 1,206 HIV cases from 1982 to 2007. Thirty-seven HIV cases were newly diagnosed in 2007. Of the new cases, 81% were among men and 58% were among whites. Most HIV cases were recorded among men who have sex with men, although some cases were contracted through heterosexual sex or injection drug use. Rosier said the state has low HIV prevalence and "would like to stay that way" (AP/Juneau Empire, 6/17).