There is cause for concern in the vicinity of Fairbanks in general and Ft. Wainwright, specifically, where the uptick in the number of HIV cases has been blamed on online dating.
Web based dating sites like Adam2Adam and other multi-use sites such as Craisglist.com provide a certain amount of anonymity to those seeking sexual partners.
According to the health department, seven of the newly-infected and reported cases are in some way connected to the military, either active-duty soldiers at the base or the sexual partner or family member of someone in the military.
With one exception, all of the HIV cases are in gay or bisexual men who had a documented negative HIV screening in the year prior to their positive test.
Four of the HIV patients are younger than age 20.
In an usual move, the Alaska State Department of Health and Social Services released the information because they are concerned more people in the area are also infected and have not been tested.
And.com published this statement from Army Spokesman Lt. Colonel Bill Coppernoll:
The military requires HIV screening of soldiers every two years as well as before and after deployments.
HIV-positive soldiers can continue on active duty in the military but aren’t allowed to serve overseas. They also are ordered by the military to inform future sex partners of their infection.
Soldiers are briefed on “high-risk behaviors” like unprotected sex that can lead to sexually transmitted diseases.
Additionally, Alaska State health officials reported 19 cases of syphilis in the Anchorage area in 2011. Many of those patients reported having found anonymous sex partners on the Internet.
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