Sexually Transmitted Diseases Pose Severe Threat to Women's Health and Fertility
Sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) are among the most serious preventable threats to women's fertility in the United States. Biological factors place women at greater risk than men for the most severe health consequences of the two most commonly reported STDs, chlamydia and gonorrhea.
These diseases are often asymptomatic and, left untreated, 10 to 20 percent of chlamydia or gonorrhea infections in women can lead to pelvic inflammatory disease (PID) -- an infection in the uterus, fallopian tubes and other reproductive organs that can permanently damage reproductive organs. PID symptoms are often mild, so many cases are undiagnosed and untreated. Even with subtle symptoms, repeated episodes of PID can cause ectopic pregnancy and infertility. CDC estimates that undiagnosed and untreated STDs cause at least 24,000 women in the United States each year to become infertile. Teenage girls between ages 15 - 19 have the highest reported cases of chlamydia, followed closely by young women between ages 20 - 24. CDC recommends annual chlamydia screening for all sexually active women under age 26, yet more than half of women under age 26 are not screened.
Despite substantial progress preventing, diagnosing, and treating STDs, CDC estimates that approximately half of new gonorrhea and more than half of new chlamydia infections that occur each year remain undiagnosed and unreported, even though both STDs are easily diagnosed and treated.
For more information or to interview an STD expert, contact CDC's National Center for HIV/AIDS, Viral Hepatitis, STD and TB prevention at (404) 639-8895.
CDC Report Finds Adolescent Girls Continue to Bear a Major Burden of Common Sexually Transmitted Diseases
This article was provided by U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Visit the CDC's website to find out more about their activities, publications and services.