Chlamydia is the most common sexually transmitted infection in the United States. More than 1.3 million cases were reported in 2010 by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, or CDC. Providence Health Plans believe it is imperative to screen all women at risk – especially women age 24 and younger – for this oftentimes symptom-free disease, which can have devastating effects if left untreated.
The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force strongly recommends screening all sexually active or pregnant women age 24 and younger as well as all pregnant women older than age 24 who are at increased risk. Pregnant women with untreated Chlamydia are at risk for premature delivery. The task force also recommends screening women who are at increased risk, regardless of age. A woman is considered at increased risk if she has partnered with someone new or has multiple partners.
Though symptoms may be present – such as burning with urination or unusual discharge – most individuals infected with Chlamydia do not experience symptoms. If left untreated, a woman with Chlamydia may develop pelvic inflammatory disease or permanent damage to the fallopian tubes and ultimately is at risk for becoming infertile.
As part of this recommended screening, also consider taking a sexual history of adolescents and young women during preventive care visits.
For more information on Chlamydia and other sexually transmitted infections, visit the CDC online.