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Elizabeth Boskey, Ph.D.

We Need Better Chlamydia Screening

By March 19, 2012

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Depressing data presented last week at the National STD Prevention Conference in Minneapolis showed that, nationally, only 38 percent of young women in the NSFG cohort were screened for chlamydia in the previous year. That represents a significant public health problem, as many chlamydia infections are asymptomatic and, if left untreated, can lead to serious problems such as infertility. Also disturbing were results from another study showing that, despite a CDC recommendation that anyone being treated for chlamydia be retested within three months to catch treatment failures and reinfections, only 14 percent of men and 22 percent of women (out of more than 60,000 chlamydia patients!) were retested within 30-180 days. Since a significant proportion of the people who were retested tested positive (25 percent of men and 16 percent of women), this suggests that a large number of chlamydia patients are likely walking around with the erroneous belief that their infections have been cured.

In other words? We're doing a terrible job at screening for the most common treatable STD there is. Given that 1,307,893 chlamydia infections were reported to the CDC in 2010, can you imagine how many were missed? It's enough to make you want to buy stock in condom companies and hold on to it for dear life.

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