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Which Method of STD Testing is Suitable for Me?
Every sexually active individual must protect their sexual health. Regular STD testing is the only way to care for your sexual health. However, sometimes it becomes confusing to select the right testing method as there are so many options available. For your convenience, we have gathered information about all available STD testing methods in Alaska. Check them out to find out which option is suitable for you.
This is one of the most popular ways to get tested for STDs today. These tests combine the best of both worlds for convenience and accuracy. You will order the test online at home, but you can walk into a professional lab testing center to get tested.
Another option is to simply visit your regular clinic and talk to your doctor.
If you do not want to visit a testing center, then a great alternative is an at-home test kit. You don’t even need to leave your house to get tested for STDs this way, which makes it the most discreet option. Everything is done through email and snail mail.
One last option for STD testing is a trip to a free clinic. If you go to a public STD-testing clinic, then you may get a free or discounted test, depending on your financial situation.
Learn more in our ultimate guide to STD testing.
It can be, but it does not necessarily have to be. What many people need to understand is that laboratory tests would most often than not be relatively pricey due to the technology that is being utilized behind these diagnostic techniques. However, opting for specific laboratories that offer more convenient testing procedures and discounted prices for diagnostic tests would help ensure that the price will not be much of an issue in providing you with the conclusive diagnosis of your condition. It might take some independent scanning to find the right testing center for you in the most acceptable price range, but it is not as impossible as many people make it out to be.
Considering that a wide variety of testing kits and laboratory procedures can be performed to determine conclusively whether you have a particular STD or not, the time that it will take for your results to return will also be subject to the same inconsistency. Although there are specific laboratories that could produce your results even by the end of the day (albeit, it is extremely rare for institutions to do so unless necessary), most would often take a few days to a week before the results are either delivered or posted online through your secure personal profile (in the case of online transactions). In addition to that, the capability of the laboratory performing the test may also contribute to the overall timeframe of result delivery – causing delays in cases where there are several requests or understaffed to provide expedited results.
For more information, skip to the FAQs section on this page.
Alaska STD Data
In 2018-19 Alaska reported the highest chlamydia in the country and the second-highest gonorrhea rate, revealing the most recent STD surveillance report released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Alaska reportedly had the highest per capita rates of chlamydia among all US states. This trend has been noted since 1996, though. Since October 2017, reports CDC, Alaska has been undergoing a gonorrhea outbreak. CDC reported that in 2018, there were over 6,150 chlamydia cases and around 2,247 gonorrhea cases in Alaska. The Alaska Department of Health and Social Services stated in a press release following this report that "High STD rates are not unusual news for Alaska, but they are alarming and should serve as a reminder to Alaskans to practice safe sex and get tested."
In 2017, the number of new gonorrhea cases in the state increased by a whopping 51% compared to 2016's statistics. Preliminary data suggested that Alaska ranked fourth for overall STDs rates in the USA in 2016. Still, in 2017, it recorded almost twice as many cases with gonorrhea cases exceeding 2,190 or 297/100,000 people compared to 197/100,000 people in 2016. For years, Alaskans have exceeded the national average in gonorrhea rates. Alaska is also struggling to control chlamydia rates in the state. Since 2001, the state has been topping the list of highest chlamydia rates in the country.
In 2017, under 6,000 Alaskans were diagnosed with chlamydia, and the state ranked 40th in countrywide lists, but after accounting for population variations and adjustments, the state moved up to number one for reporting at least 50% higher rates than anywhere else in the country.
In 2018, the state health department issued a warning of a syphilis outbreak as that year Alaska recorded more cases since 2013. Although the state ranks 21st nationally and its syphilis cases are lower than the national average. However, since 2017, Alaska health officials have noted a 300% increase from previous years in syphilis cases of all stages, including the most threatening primary and secondary syphilis stages. In 2018, more cases of P&S syphilis were reported than the combined number of cases reported between 2014 and 2017.
The Anchorage/Mat-Su region, including the City of Anchorage, was the worst-hit region as nearly half of all reported chlamydia cases in Alaska in 2016-17 were from this area. The Interior region, including Fairbanks, accounted for 15% of all chlamydial infections. Around two-thirds of all reported gonorrhea cases in the state were diagnosed in Anchorage area residents, whereas 85% of people diagnosed with any stage of syphilis lived in Anchorage's urban centers, Fairbanks or Juneau.
According to the United States Bureau of Census data, 2019, the total population of Alaska was 731,545. Alaska is the third least populated state of the country. In comparison with the other states, the HIV statistics of Alaska have been low. Alaska is ranked 44th in the 50 states, considering the number of HIV-positive patients. According to CDC, Alaska had a total of 24 HIV-positive cases during the year 2015.
The numbers of newly diagnosed HIV cases 3 years apart were still more or less the same. As per the AIDSvu HIV/AIDS report, the total number of newly diagnosed cases in Alaska during 2018 was 23. The data from the same report indicates that 708 people were living with HIV in Alaska in 2018. The rate of people living with HIV per 100,000 population in 2018 was 118.
Reportedly, around 58% of all reported gonorrhea cases in 2018 in Alaska were diagnosed in people aged 29 or younger. The cases were evenly split between males and females. Southwest Alaska reported the highest rate of gonorrheal infections, followed by the Anchorage, Matanuska-Susitna, and Northern Alaska regions.
During 2018, over 114 syphilis diagnoses were reported to the Alaska Section of Epidemiology. In 2019 the number increased to 242 cases, thus marking a 112% increase in cases within a single year. At least 86% of the cases were newly acquired and classified as infectious. Out of the 207 syphilis cases in Alaska during 2018, 65% were diagnosed in males, 44% of them identified as men who have sex with men, whereas 52% were men who have sex with women.
At least 35% of the reported diagnoses were in females. 97% of the females were of childbearing age. Almost 90% of them were heterosexual, and 4% were bisexual. Around 94% lived in urban communities, and their age ranged between 15 and 85 years. It was identified that 35% of the infected people were diagnosed with at least another STD or known HIV infection.
Gonorrhea and chlamydia outbreaks have been concentrated in the Alaska Native communities residing in rural Alaska, particularly the southwestern and northern parts of the state. The latest available data on Alaska Native communities' STD prevalence is from 2010, which indicates that the southwestern region reported a gonorrhea infection rate of 1,125/100,000 people. That was ten times the national average back then. The hub city of Bethel and Yukon-Kuskokwim Delta regions were the epicenters of STDs in Alaska along with the Arctic northwest.
The chlamydia infection rates in Alaska Natives were six times higher than White Alaskans, reported the Alaska Native Tribal Health Consortium. Young people were the most at-risk group of the population in this context mainly because they are most likely to indulge in high-risk sexual behaviors.
According to the data from the year 2018 HIV/AIDS Report, 2018, a total of 23 people were newly diagnosed with HIV 23 while the total number of people living with HIV was 708. Alaskan males were disproportionately affected by the virus. Of the total number, the total percentage of males living with the virus was 74.9%. Female living with the virus accounted for 25.1% of the total numbers. 38.7% of the people living with HIV were White American, while 13.1% were Black Americans and 10% were of Hispanic or Latin origin.
Age-wise, the group that had the most cases of HIV was 55 years and above (33.6%), followed by the age group 45 to 54 years (30.1%), 19.4% of the age group 35 to 44, and 17% of the total people living with HIV were between 13 to 34 years. The rate of people living with HIV per 100,000 in 2018 in Alaska was 118.
The report also indicates 87% of the newly diagnosed cases were Alaskan males, and 13% were females. The new diagnosis rate per 100,000 population was 4. 30.4 % of the new diagnosis was White Americans, while 4.3% were Black Americans and 4.3% were of Hispanic origin.
In 2018, the total number of HIV-related mortalities during 2018 was 9. The rate of HIV-related death per 100,000 population was 2. 88.9% of the HIV-related deaths were males while 11.1% was female population. Considering the ethnicity wise HIV-related mortalities statistics, 77.8% were white Americans while 11.1% were Hispanic.
Of the total reported cases in Alaskan males, 70.8% were transmitted due to male-to-male sexual contact, while 10.2% were transmitted due to heterosexual contact. 7% of the reported cases were due to contaminated syringes or injection use. The transmission of HIV in females was mainly due to heterosexual contact (79.8%), while 17.4% of cases were reported to be because of contaminated injections or drug use.
The disproportionately low rates of diagnosis and treatment of STDs in Alaska a Native people and those living in rural Alaska seem to stem from several factors. These include factors like confidentiality/privacy concerns, scarce healthcare resources, and geographic isolation. Moreover, the use of conventional clinical methods of STD testing is also limited in rural areas. In 2011, an at-home STD testing service was launched by the Alaska Native Tribal Health Consortium (ANTHC) to address these challenges. The I Want the Kit–Alaska (IWTK–Alaska) initiative was launched in collaboration with the IWTK program of the Johns Hopkins University.
As per the guidelines of this initiative, any Alaska resident aged 14 or above can order a free STD test kit via www.iwantthekit.org. The kit allows the user to collect rectal or genital samples at home and mail them to the department to test for common STDs. John Hopkins maintains the website, and it also performs all laboratory testing and manages kit distribution. Conversely, ANTHC is responsible for marketing the service, providing phone-based risk analysis and counseling, and informs the participants about their results. Positive cases are reported to the state, and people who have tested positive are provided access to their closest treatment services.
This statewide initiative aims to compel people to get tested, especially the high-risk population groups including Alaska Natives, females, rural Alaskans, Alaska Indians, and anyone aged between 15-29.
The program has launched an extensive advertising campaign called Wrap It Up Alaska in partnership with the Alaska Division of Public Health to reach out to these groups. Wrap It Up Alaska is a state-funded social marketing campaign that yielded favorable results. The number of kits tested via IWTK-Alaska increased from 186 in 2012 to 304 in 2014, marking a 63% increase. This increment was primarily noted among high-risk populations.
Alaskan AIDS Assistance Association, also known as the 4A's, is the state initiative to eliminate HIV-induced stigma, create awareness, and provide testing services to the general public. This association also has programs designed to prevent sexually transmitted diseases, specifically HIV, by providing free condoms to the state's residents. Alaskan AIDS Assistance Association also has a specialized syringe service program where the general public can bring their used syringes and receive new ones in return.
Alaska Native Tribal Health Consortium, under the umbrella of the State of Alaska Section of Epidemiology that provides nonclinical support to various STIs, HIV in specific. The function of this organization is to collect the HIV-related data of the state, which provides a guide to the policy and decision-making. Services like counseling, case analysis, and referral programs are also available.
Ryan White Part B is yet another initiative to eradicate HIV in the state. Ryan White Part B is a federal initiative. The program has collaborated with various state organizations that use funds allocated by the federal government for the treatment and other related services of HIV. The program provides treatment and medication support to low-income groups. Medication, housing as well as insurance services are also available.
Select a city below to see more local STD testing options
|Tok, AK||Belkofski, AK|
|Cohoe, AK||Kwigillingok, AK|
|Chaniliut, AK||Artesian Village, AK|
|Ayakulik, AK||Ninilchik, AK|
|York, AK||Mertarvik, AK|
|Nelsonville, AK||Steele Creek, AK|
|Delta Junction, AK||St. Paul, AK|
|Circle Hot Springs, AK||Makushin, AK|
|Sunshine, AK||Squaw Harbor, AK|
|Iliamna, AK||Portage Creek, AK|
|Chatanika, AK||Hollis, AK|
|Saint John Harbor, AK||Saxman, AK|
|Anvik, AK||Shaktoolik, AK|
|Lakeview, AK||Ward Cove, AK|
|St. George, AK||Labouchere Bay, AK|
|Sterling, AK||Shageluk, AK|
|Game Creek, AK||Slana, AK|
|Aleksashkina, AK||Navy Town, AK|
|Chena Hot Springs, AK||Red Dog Mine, AK|
|Tuluksak, AK||Bonibrook, AK|
It does vary on a case-to-case basis. Insurance policies are often particular with the instances that they would be covering with their program. Some may cover severe accidents, some may even consider “orphan disease,” and yes, some may also cover the expenses for performing STD diagnostic tests. However, considering that your insurance provider will have to verify the person's identity availing of the program, STD testing laboratories that employ a minimal collection of patient information may not accept insurance policies to prioritize privacy over affordability.
Depending on the test being performed and the testing physician's targeted diseases, various types of samples can be requested from you. In some instances, a minuscule blood sample of a few milliliters will be collected, some might ask for a urine sample, and others may opt for a genital swab. Again, the sample being collected will depend on the test being conducted and the outcome that is being targeted for this particular procedure.
Similar to how other testing procedures behave, false-positive results are still evident even in STD testing. False-positive and even false-negative results are standard instances that showcase the imperfection of the test’s design – a factor that is present everywhere. However, despite certain inconsistencies in laboratory tests as such, physicians commonly use confirmatory tests that would often take another path entirely to arrive at the same conclusion – solidifying the initial test’s diagnosis while still ensuring that the second test is not following the inconsistencies of the first.
Although NAATs are well-known for their accuracy and sensitivity in detecting most STDs, it is also subject to certain inconsistencies, especially in the case of herpes infections. In Herpes, outbreaks often result in a relative increase in the patient’s viral load – leading to a timeline that usually has specific peaks at certain intervals instead of a consistent rise in viral load throughout. As such, sensitive tests such as NAATs are still unable to accurately diagnose herpes conditions, especially in cases where the patient has recently become asymptomatic and is currently between outbreaks. Other tests such as culture testing and type-specific virologic tests are often employed instead as a confirmatory diagnosis for the patient’s condition.
It is recommended to get tested for STDs if you have had unprotected sexual contact, multiple sexual partners, or if you are experiencing symptoms associated with STDs. Additionally, regular testing is recommended as part of routine sexual health care, even in the absence of symptoms, especially for individuals who are sexually active.
How Does it Work?
Most people experience feelings of hesitation when going to get tested for STD, despite knowing they might have contracted one. EasySTD was created to change that.
Visit your nearest lab or clinic, order your home testing kit online, and follow the given instructions from an STD testing provider.
After ordering your STD test, visit the testing center to get tested or take a self sample including urine, cotton swab, or finger prick with the home testing kit and mail it back.
Receive the lab-certified results of your STD test from your test provider via mail or phone within 2 to 3 days. If the test comes positive, consult your doctor immediately.