A Burden to Women's Health
Women 14 to 24 years old have the highest rates of chlamydia, one of the most common sexually transmitted infections (STI). Many women who get chlamydia once, often get it again—that is, they have a “recurring infection.” Yale researchers looked at how often young women were having recurring infections. They studied 411 teens at 10 community based clinics around Connecticut, including New Haven. They found that:
- Over half of the participants had chlamydia
- Of all chlamydia cases, over half were recurring infections
- The average time for a recurring infection was 5 months
This shows that the rate of recurring infections among young women is higher than thought. This rate of infection is a public health concern because of chlamydia’s connection to:
- the inability to have children
- constant pelvic pain
- pelvic inflammatory disease (PID)
- increased risk for HIV
Efforts to prevent recurring chlamydia infections in young women must be improved. Counseling should be provided at the time of a chlamydia diagnosis to prevent recurring
infections. Men should be tested to prevent them from infecting their partners.
Chlamydia is a sexually transmitted infection that infects the urinary and reproductive organs. Symptoms may include painful urination, lower abdominal pain, vaginal discharge and pain during sex. However, most women do not have any symptoms.
Pelvic inflammatory disease is an infection of the female reproductive organs (the uterus, fallopian tubes and ovaries).
Source: Linda Niccolai, Abby Hochberg; Kathleen Ethier; Jessica Lewis; Jeannette Ickovics. Burden of Recurrent Chlamydia trachomatis Infections in Young Women. Further Uncovering the “Hidden Epidemic” Archives of Pediatric Adolescent Medicine 2007;161:246-251.