Sexually Active Women Under 25 Need Biannual Chlamydia Tests, CDC Says
CDC researchers announced yesterday that sexually active women under age 25 should receive chlamydia screening every six months, Reuters/Chicago Tribune reports. Chlamydia, an STD that can cause infertility if not treated, is four times more common in young women than in women over 25 years old and goes undiagnosed more often in younger women, according to CDC scientists who published their research in Sexually Transmitted Infections. In the study, conducted over 33 months, researchers tested 4,000 sexually active women ages 12 to 60 who attended health centers in Baltimore, Md. The results showed that almost one in three women under 25 had chlamydia, but fewer than one in 10 women over 25 were diagnosed with the STD. In addition, younger women were nine times as likely as older women to be diagnosed with chlamydia more than once over the study period (Reaney, Reuters/Chicago Tribune, 2/6). The study also showed that the number of sexual partners a woman had, or her use of condoms, had "no bearing" on her likelihood of infection. Although chlamydia can have a "devastating impact on fertility and sexual health," according to study author Dr. Gale Burstein of the CDC, the disease is treatable with antibiotics. For this reason the CDC is recommending that all sexually active women under the age of 25 be screened for the bacterial infection, "regardless of symptoms, previous infections, condom use or multiple partners" (BBC News, 2/6).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.