The sexually transmitted disease (STD) Chlamydia is the most common STD in the United States, with 1.8 million infections occurring nationally, according to a new report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Those most at risk are people with multiple sex partners, particularly those who are young.
In the 2007-2012 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey data, CDC researchers looked at how prevalent Chlamydia is overall in the United States, as well as by sex, age, and race or ethnicity.
What they found was:
- An overall Chlamydia prevalence of 1.7 percent was found among people aged 14-39.
- Among sexually active females ages 14-24, Chlamydia was found in 4.7 percent; among African-American females, Chlamydia was found in 13.5 percent.
- By race/ethnicity, Chlamydia occurred in 5.2 percent of African-Americans, 2.3 percent of Mexican-Americans, and 0.8 percent of whites.
- By number of sex partners, 1.8 percent those with one sex partner in the last year and 3.2 of those with two or more sex partners in the last year had Chlamydia.
- Those who started having sex before age 14 had a prevalence rate of 2.6 for Chlamydia compared to a 1.8 prevalence rate in those who were older than 14 at first sex.
Many times, Chlamydia goes undetected because there may not be symptoms of the infection, so the CDC is recommending that all sexually active young females get tested to help pick up otherwise undetected infections. If untreated, Chlamydia can lead to infertility and ectopic (tubal) pregnancy. Because of the higher incidence of Chlamydia among young African-Americans, “targeted interventions” in certain risk groups may be necessary to detect undiagnosed infections, the CDC adds.
“These findings highlight the importance of screening all sexually active young females to ensure that those who are infected get diagnosed and treated,” they write.
The National Institutes of Health states that as many as 25 percent of men with chlamydia have no symptoms. Symptoms may include a burning sensation during urination,discharge from the penis or rectum, orpain or tenderness in the testicles.
As many as 70 percent of women with Chlamydia have no symptoms. Symptoms that may occur in women include a burning sensation during urination,painful sexual intercourse, or vaginal discharge.
The usual treatment for Chlamydia is antibiotics, and the earlier the treatment, the more effective it is, according to the NIH.