The recorded history of sexually transmitted Chlamydia trachomatis infections is brief; for example, reliable documentation that C trachomatis causes nongonococcal urethritis in men and general acceptance that nongonococcal urethritis is a sexually transmitted infection is barely 15 years old. During the 1970s and into the 1980s, the clinical spectrum of chlamydial infections was defined, and numerous studies demonstrated substantial—in some cases extraordinary— prevalences of infection in sexually active populations, especially young women. As a major cause of acute salpingitis, of female infertility and ectopic pregnancy due to scarring of the fallopian tubes (often in the absence of prior overt salpingitis), and of conjunctivitis and pneumonia in infants born to infected mothers, chlamydial infections have emerged as one of the most important women's health problems.
Measures to control the chlamydia epidemic have been proposed since the early 1970s, but widespread acceptance that such measures are warranted came only in the mid-1980s,
Handsfield HH. Control of Sexually Transmitted Chlamydial Infections. JAMA. 1987;257(15):2073-2074. doi:10.1001/jama.1987.03390150089042