Alaska is currently experiencing one of the most severe syphilis and gonorrhea outbreaks. The state and city of Anchorage is trying hard to combat the problem using methods that are not so well-known to the general public.
The Alaska Dept. of Health and Social Services has a small but important department made of four people which are known as Disease Intervention Specialists. Their aim is to speak to someone after a positive diagnosis is made regarding an STD.
DIS contacts potentially infected individuals
DIS is mainly focusing on HIV/AIDS, gonorrhea and syphilis in patients with higher risks.
According to public health specialist Jessica Harvill, DIS can be used for more severe diseases such as Ebola, but for now, they mostly focus on what we already stated above.
A person with STD speaks to a DIS representative, and after that, the officials will try and see “who else close to the person could benefit from being tested,” according to Harvill.
The state and the city can be voluntarily directed to contact the people who are also at risk of getting infected and ask them to meet in order to discuss an important health issue. The contact is made via phone, text messages, and private social media accounts as well.
Confidentiality is vital during the process
There are specific rules that are involved in this whole process including strict confidentiality. This means that the gender of the person who is infected is not shared and neither the dates when the specific STD has been contacted.
The particular STD in question will not be divulged electronically.
According to Jessica Downes, who is a registered nurse and clinical services supervisor with the Anchorage Department of Health and Human Services, unfortunately, there are lots of people who have received the message and have taken the whole situation as a hoax.
Harvil stated that this is a legitimate public health initiative so when a person is contacted they are advised to call the relevant authority that is listed in the message in order to get tested and treated if necessary.
I have been blogging and posting articles for over eight years, but my passion for writing dates back in 2000. I am especially enthusiastic about technology, science, and health-related issues. When I’m not researching and writing the latest news, I’m either watching sci-fi and horror movies or checking out places worth visiting and building deep memories for later in life. I believe in empathy and continually improving myself.