Donna Cecere, Division of Public Health Section of Epidemiology's STD program coordinator, presents her wish list for decreasing STD rates in Alaska:
On the intervention side:
1) To broaden health care coverage, especially for young people. About 84 percent of chlamydia cases occur in people ages 15 to 29.
2) To increase funding to the State Public Health Laboratory to provide free chlamydia and gonorrhea testing services to all providers in Alaska.
3) To increase capacity through Public Health Nursing to provide STD clinical and partner services statewide.
On the prevention side:
1) To develop a well-funded Comprehensive Sexual Health Education program available through all school districts.
2) To open up the dialogue on sexual health issues to reduce stigmatization and shame.
"We really need to normalize the topics of sexuality and sexual health care for young people," Cecere said.
3) To work to decrease the high rates of alcohol consumption, drug abuse, childhood sexual abuse, and domestic violence. "I don't think it's any coincidence that the state with the highest rates of alcohol consumption, childhood sexual abuse and domestic violence also consistently has among the highest rates of chlamydia," Cecere said.