STD cases down; AK still has high rate

The number of sexually transmitted gonorrhea infections in Alaska has decreased, according to the State Section of Epidemiology.

Gonorrhea went down 23 percent for the first three quarters of 2011, with 770 laboratory confirmed cases, compared to more than a thousand for the same time last year.

The decrease was seen statewide, except the Interior. Fewer cases occurred among all racial groups, with the most sizeable reductions among white and Alaska Native populations.

HIV/STD Program Manager Susan Jones says the gonorrhea numbers may be down due to increased awareness of the disease, when it reached almost epidemic proportions in recent years. Emphasis also is being placed on expedited partner therapy, where sexual partners can receive treatment without going to a health care provider.

Despite the decrease, Alaska still has one of the highest rates of sexually transmitted diseases in the nation, ranking third in 2010.