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Medical News & Perspectives
April 11, 2012

CDC: Improve Targeted Screening for Chlamydia

JAMA. 2012;307(14):1472. doi:10.1001/jama.2012.427

Screening rates for chlamydia among the group most adversely affected by the infection—sexually active young women—remain too low, according to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The low rates trouble public health officials because this sexually transmitted disease (STD) can cause chronic pelvic pain, potentially fatal ectopic pregnancy, and infertility if the infection is left untreated.

During a telebriefing held at the National STD Prevention Conference in March, CDC officials presented self-reported data from teenaged girls and young women who participated in the 2006-2008 cycle of the National Survey of Family Growth. Only 38% of sexually active young women surveyed were screened for chlamydia in the previous year, suggesting that more than 9 million young women nationwide were not screened as recommended. Testing rates were higher for women belonging to populations associated with a greater risk of chlamydia infection: blacks (55%), those with multiple sex partners (47%), those receiving public insurance (50%), and those who were uninsured (41%).