The Alaska Department of Health & Social Services (DHSS) issued an alert this week, warning residents that Alaska ranks third in the nation for sexually transmitted syphilis and chlamydia cases, and eighth in the nation for gonorrhea cases.

In highlighting national STD Awareness Week, the state health department noted that sexually transmitted diseases declined at the start of the Covid outbreak, but have now surpassed 2019 levels.

To address increased STD outbreaks, the state alert advises Alaskans to undergo more screenings and to “talk openly to their providers and partners about their sexual health.”

“Health care providers can’t help you if they don’t know your concerns,” said DHSS HIV/STD Program Manager Susan Jones. “It’s important to talk to your provider about your sexual health and to request comprehensive testing. Standard testing often includes screening for gonorrhea, chlamydia, syphilis and HIV. Depending on your sexual history, other tests may be needed. Talk to your provider about which testing is right for you. If you test positive, get treated and encourage your partners [sic] to also get tested and treated.”

Beyond widespread and ongoing testing, including tests for “everyone aged 13-64 for HIV at least once a year,” the only other recommendation the state suggests is to “wear a condom in the correct way.” The state website includes a link for “free condoms,” where people can anonymously order packs of 20, regardless of their age. Condoms come in multiple colors, styles and options.

Nowhere in the alert or on the Department of Health website does the state ever mention abstinence or marital fidelity as possible solutions to Alaska’s rampant STD problem.

Instead, the DHSS website adds that all sexually active women younger than 25 should be tested for chlamydia every year. Women 25 years and older with risk factors such as new or multiple sex partners or a sex partner who has an STD should also be tested for gonorrhea and chlamydia every year.”

Additionally, the state adds that “all sexually active gay and bisexual men should be tested at least once a year for syphilis, chlamydia, and gonorrhea. Those who have multiple or anonymous partners should be tested more frequently for STDs (i.e., at 3- to 6- month intervals).”

The state’s silence on abstinence and marriage is reflective of the that fact that abstinence-until-marriage educational programs have long been derided by organizations like Planned Parenthood, the Guttmacher Foundation and other far-leftist organizations that push for widespread and explicit sexual education for children, teens and young adults. Abstinence advocates, however, argue that the fixation on teaching youth how to have so-called “safe sex” ultimately encourages experimentation which leads to even greater rates of STDs, unintended pregnancies and abortion. They also point out that teaching abstinence education coincides with reduced sexual activity.


— Email the Alaska Department of Health’s HIV/STD Program at

— Click here to contact Alaska Commissioner of Health Adam Crum

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State warning on Alaska’s STD crisis ignores abstinence & marriage

Joel Davidson
Joel is Editor-in-Chief of the Alaska Watchman. Joel is an award winning journalist and has been reporting for over 24 years, He is a proud father of 8 children, and lives in Palmer, Alaska.