Chlamydia Common in United States: Survey
July 14, 2005
Nearly 1 in 20 US women ages 14-19, or 4.6 percent, and 2.2 percent of the general population ages 14-39 are infected with chlamydia, CDC reported Tuesday in Amsterdam at the 16th biennial meeting of the International Society for Sexually Transmitted Diseases Research. According to the CDC survey, those especially at risk for the bacterial infection are economically disadvantaged youth and pregnant women attending publicly funded clinics.
For the study, CDC researchers analyzed responses to the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey -- a lengthy survey of tens of thousands of Americans taken between 1999 and 2002. One in 10 economically disadvantaged young adults ages 16-24 and enrolled in a national job training program had chlamydia. And 5.8 percent of 86,000 women ages 15-45 attending publicly funded prenatal clinics in 18 states were also infected with the STD.
In 2003, there were 877,478 US cases of chlamydia, making it the most commonly reported STD, CDC said.
Chlamydia often goes undiagnosed because it causes few symptoms. Though easily cured with antibiotics, if left untreated it can cause infertility, pelvic inflammatory disease, ectopic pregnancy, and chronic pelvic pain. "STDs often have no symptoms and therefore frequently go unrecognized and undiagnosed," said Dr. John Douglas, CDC's director of STD prevention programs. "Stepping up screening and prevention efforts is critical to ensuring that young people do not suffer the long-term effects of untreated chlamydia, including infertility," Douglas said.
CDC noted that federally funded efforts have prevented millions of STD infections and saved an estimated $5 billion in direct medical costs over the last 30 years.
This article was provided by U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. It is a part of the publication CDC HIV/Hepatitis/STD/TB Prevention News Update. Visit the CDC's website to find out more about their activities, publications and services.