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Medical News

Chlamydia: Preventive Medicine Group Recommends Annual Screening for Some Women

May 30, 2003

The American College of Preventive Medicine has recommended that all sexually active women age 25 or younger, as well as sexually active women with other risk factors, be screened annually for chlamydia. Other risk factors include having a new male sex partner or two or more partners during the preceding year, inconsistent use of barrier contraception, history of a prior STD, African-American race, and cervical cancer.

"While chlamydia has become the nation's most common bacterial sexually transmitted disease, it can in fact be controlled by aggressive public health efforts," said Dr. Katerina Hollblad-Fadiman, the lead author of ACPM's recommendation. "Not only can effective screening programs result in the diagnosis and treatment of chlamydia in currently infected persons, but they can greatly reduce transmission of the disease to unsuspecting sexual partners," she said.

Chlamydia affects more than 4 million Americans each year. Seventy percent of all reported cases occur in women under age 25. Widespread screening is necessary since up to 70 percent of infected women and 75 percent of infected men are asymptomatic. Treatment for chlamydia, once detected, is effective and simple.

Cervicitis is the most common reported manifestation of chlamydial infection in women. Pelvic inflammatory disease occurs in up to 30 percent of untreated women, leading to possible ectopic pregnancy and/or tubal infertility. Chlamydial infection also increases the likelihood of both transmitting and acquiring HIV.

The full American College of Preventive Medicine Practice Policy Statement, "Screening for Chlamydia Trachomatis," is published in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine (2003;24(3):287-292) and may be accessed online at

Back to other CDC news for May 30, 2003

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Adapted from:
TB & Outbreaks Week

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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.
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