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CDC Says Far Too Few Young Women Screened for Chlamydia

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Sexual Health
CDC Says Far Too Few Young Women Screened for Chlamydia
By: Madeline Ellis
Published: Monday, 20 April 2009

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Chlamydia is a common sexually transmitted disease (STD) named for the Greek word meaning “cloak,” precisely because its symptoms are usually mild or absent and it may linger months or years before being discovered. Men and women alike can be infected, and if left untreated chlamydia can progress to serious reproductive and other health problems. In women, the infection can spread to the uterus and fallopian tubes, leading to infertility or an ectopic pregnancy (a pregnancy that occurs outside of the uterus). Women infected with chlamydia are up to five times more likely to become infected with HIV, if exposed. An infected mother can transfer the infection to her baby, where it can cause pneumonia or an eye infection that could result in blindness. In men, infection can spread to the testicles and prostate and can cause sterility.

To help prevent these serious consequences, the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force, Centers for Disease Control (CDC), and professional organizations such as the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists recommend annual chlamydia screening for all sexually active women age 25 years or younger, older women with risk factors for the disease such as a new sex partner or multiple partners, and all pregnant women. And though rates of testing have risen significantly over the past decade, screening is far below where it needs to be.

Researchers at the CDC analyzed data reported to the Healthcare Effectiveness Data and Information Set by commercial insurers and Medicaid plans from 2000 through 2007 and found that fewer than half of vulnerable U.S. women are being screened for chlamydia. The information covered 41 states and included information from at least five health plans. “Nationally, the annual screening rate increased from 25.3 percent in 2000 to 43.6 percent in 2006, and then decreased slightly to 41.6 percent in 2007,” the researchers wrote in the April 17 issue of Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.

1 comment:

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