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Chlamydia is the most commonly reported infectious disease in the United States and may be one of the most dangerous sexually transmitted diseases (STD) among women today.

It is possible to cure chlamydia with antibiotics. However, because many men and women don't know they have chlamydia, they don't get tested or treated. That can lead to severe consequences, particularly for women.

Up to 40 percent of women with untreated chlamydia will develop pelvic inflammatory disease (PID), and one in five women with pid becomes infertile. Pelvic inflammatory disease is a term that refers to infection of the uterus (womb), fallopian tubes (tubes that carry eggs from the ovaries to the uterus) and other reproductive organs. It is a common and serious complication of chlamydia and gonorrhea.

Chlamydia also can cause prematurity, eye disease, and pneumonia in infants. Moreover, women infected with chlamydia are three to five times more likely to become infected with HIV, if exposed. Seventy-five percent of women and 50 percent of men with chlamydia have no symptoms. The majority of cases therefore go undiagnosed and unreported.

Some chlamydia facts:

> About three million people are infected with chlamydia each year.

> In 2005, 976,445 chlamydial infections were reported to CDC from 50 states and the District of Columbia. The reported number of cases of chlamydial infection was nearly three times greater than the reported cases of gonorrhea (339,593 gonorrhea cases were reported in 2005).

> Reported chlamydia rates in women greatly exceed those in men largely because screening programs have been primarily directed at women.True rates are probably far more similar for women and men.

> Among women, the highest age-specific rates of reported chlamydia in 2005 were among 15- to 19-year-olds (2796.6 cases per 100,000 females) and 20- to 24-year-olds (2691.1 cases per 100,000 females).

> From 1988 to 1999, the Pacific northwest-Washington, Oregon, Idaho, and Alaska-witnessed a 62 percent decline in infection among women tested for chlamydia in family planning clinics.

> In the Mid-Atlantic States-Delaware, Washington, D.C., Maryland, Pennsylvania, Virginia, and West Virginia-similar trends are occurring, with a decline of 16 percent since 1994
(DSTDP, CDC, 2000).

> While family planning clinics can help identify chlamydia in women, research is being done on how to get more men to get tested for it. Since chlamydia is treatable, its vital to see more men and women getting tested and treated in order to help stop the spread of chlamydia.

Chlamydia is widespread among the sexually active population, regardless of race, ethnicity, age, or gender. It is more concentrated among adolescents than any other std with the highest rates seen among female adolescents. Data on male adolescents also reveal an alarming level of infection.

Forty percent of chlamydia cases are reported among young people, 15 to 19 years old. Reported prevalence among sexually active women is consistently more than five percent, with prevalence among teenage girls often exceeding 10 percent more than one in 10. And while the data are more limited for men, studies of adolescent males tested in high schools and other settings have found prevalence of more than five percent (Cohen, 1998; Ku, 1997). Recent studies and screening programs in multiple settings throughout the country come to the same conclusion: chlamydia continues to exact a devastating toll among our nation’s young people

Impact On Women
Women, especially young women, are hit hardest by chlamydia. Studies have found that chlamydia is more common among young women than young men, and the long-term consequences of untreated disease are much more severe for women.

< Chlamydia | STD Prevention >

If you think you may have a sexually transmitted disease, you should see a physician immediately to be properly diagnosed and treated. You should not try to diagnose or treat symptoms on your own.

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