Syphilis cases spiked in 2020 during Covid-19 pandemic lockdowns in Alaska


Social distancing? Not so much in Alaska last year.

The Alaska Department of Health and Social Services says the number of syphilis cases in Alaska rose dramatically last year. 2020 was the year many Alaskans were locked down in their homes by government edict.

During 2020, 361 cases of syphilis were reported by health workers. This outbreak represented a 49% increase over 2019, which saw 242 cases in Alaska.

Of the 361 cases, 306 (85%) cases were in the primary, secondary, or early latent stages, and 47 (13%) cases were in the late latent stage. In other words, it was not known how long the individuals had had the disease. The remaining 8 (2%) were classified as congenital syphilis cases, or in babies.

Of the 306 primary, secondary, or early latent cases, 167 (55%) were in men, with 103 (62%) of the men having sexual contact with women and 39, (23%) of the men having had sexual experiences with other men.

For women diagnosed with syphilis, there were 139, with 90 of them of childbearing age. 107 (77%) said they were heterosexual and 7 (5%) said they were bisexual.

150 (49%) were in American Indian/Alaska Native people, 90 (29%) were in White persons, 23 (8%) were in Black persons, 26 (8%) were in Hispanic/Latino persons, 11 (4%) and 12 (4%), respectively, were in Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islander and Asian persons;

The outbreak is largely urban, with 93% cases in residents of urban communities (i.e., Anchorage/Mat-Su, Juneau, and Fairbanks). 56% of the cases were found in people under the age of 35, although the ages ranges from 15-85.

That’s not all: 104 (34%) were diagnosed with at least one other sexually transmitted disease. 72 (69%) diagnosed with syphilis were co-infected with chlamydia or gonorrhea, while 4 (4% of co-infections) were co-infected with HIV.

Alaska’s syphilis outbreak continues to grow, the Department of Health and Social Services notes, and congenital syphilis cases are at a record high. The primary drivers of this explosion in cases is in heterosexual men and women, with a drop off in cases among homosexual men.

The department noted that collecting complete information during the pandemic was difficult and many interviews were done remotely.

Alaska’s syphilis outbreak was first declared in early 2018, the department reported, and case counts have increased annually ever since. Because of the Covid-19 pandemic, risk assessments were not completed on every case report.

Syphilis is one of the reportable diseases, so the state keeps track of trends and outbreaks and reports the data to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.



  1. So much for sex lockdowns. The coronavirus is a piece of cake for 99.8% of the public, compared to the damaging effect of syphilis. And AIDS? That’s a death sentence.

  2. This not the Lord punishing them for fornicating. This is the consequence of sin: destruction, illness, and death. It’s our sin that destroys us.

  3. Tells me these people never use any sort of protection. Just unprotected sex for them, no thought of birth control at all, contracting an STD because they are apparently too stupid to figure out how life works. They got what they deserve in my opinion. There are consequences to everything in this world along with choices. When you treat your body like a dumpster, you get the rats that follow, aka disease.

  4. John J, Neither do your wrong actions go unnoticed by the same God who is not lacking to punish all sin, especially that of pride

  5. Gee, that’s weird.
    I guess everyone was forced to have sex with their partner in marriage, instead of the person they really want to… Well, you know. Brought home something they could not wash off.

  6. Conversely, “.. . He makes me lie down in green pastures. He restores my soul…” So, following God’s guidance gets us all where we want to be.

  7. 2021’s pandemic alert has just arrived from Mr. Biden:

    Until further notice all men must wear a condom everywhere, all the time. All women must wear a chastity belt. The new rules may be disregarded if you have a doctor’s documentation attached to your lapel to prove you’ve accepted two government approved shots to kill your libido.

    Marital relations may be resumed on a limited basis as early as 2022 pending assessment of need. Interim complaints may be hollered at Dr. Zink and a photo of syphilitic bits should be sent to Dr. Faucci.

  8. This is what happens when citizens take matters into their own hands.
    Some functions are better left to government, yes?

  9. I went to the doctor and he gave me a slap
    Asked me how I could be such a sap
    Said your distancing could use some work;
     You needed a condom, now penicillin you jerk
    It’s not dacovid she gave you the clap

  10. @Morrigan. That’s not the way it works. If citizens had taken matters into their own hands they wouldn’t have contracted an STD.

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