Oklahoma: Adolescents Face Infertility Danger With Disease
October 27, 2005
The Regional Infertility Prevention Advisory Council is meeting Thursday in Oklahoma City, bringing public health officials together for a two-day conference on chlamydia screening, treatment, surveillance, and other issues. Attendees will include officials from Oklahoma, Texas, Arkansas, Louisiana and New Mexico.
Chlamydia is the most common bacterial STD reported in the United States and can lead to infertility. However, three-quarters of women and about half of men infected never have symptoms. Treatment is usually a simple, single-dose antibiotic.
Oklahoma reported 10,371 chlamydia cases last year, with adolescents ages 10-19 accounting for nearly 40 percent of cases, a slight downturn from more than 42 percent in 2002 and 2003. Young girls, whose immature cervices make them especially vulnerable to the infection, accounted for more than one-third of cases last year.
Sexually active adolescents are not getting the education necessary to safeguard their health, said Michael Harmon, chief of Oklahoma Health Department's HIV/STD Service. While his department encourages abstinence, Harmon said abstinence-only curricula might not reach teens already sexually active.
Last year's chlamydia figure represents a decrease from the 10,983 cases reported in 2003, but the state's 315.2 cases per 100,000 people is still above the national average of 304.3. Louisiana had 467.8 cases per 100,000 residents and Arkansas had 289.9, said Harmon. Because public clinics have recently begun utilizing more sensitive tests, Oklahoma's chlamydia numbers are expected to continue rising, Harmon said.
10.25.2005; Kelly Kurt
This article was provided by CDC National Prevention Information Network. It is a part of the publication CDC HIV/Hepatitis/STD/TB Prevention News Update.