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Many STDs May Go Undiagnosed, U.S. Report Finds

Nearly two million Americans have chlamydia infection, but about 400,000 don't know it

TUESDAY, June 10, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- About 400,000 Americans may have the sexually transmitted disease chlamydia, but not know they have it, new research suggests. The study was scheduled for presentation Tuesday at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's STD Prevention Conference in Atlanta.

Researchers analyzed data from the 2007 to 2012 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey and found that 1.7 percent of men and women aged 14 to 39 have chlamydia (about 1.8 million infections in the United States). However, only about 1.4 million chlamydia infections are reported each year, which indicates that many chlamydia infections go undiagnosed, the researchers said.

The chlamydia infection rate is highest among sexually active girls aged 14 to 19, at 6.4 percent, the investigators found. The rate among sexually active boys aged 14 to 19 is 2.4 percent. The study also found significant racial differences. For example, the rate among sexually active black teen girls is 18.6 percent, compared with 3.2 percent among sexually active white teen girls.

The findings show the importance of screening all sexually active teen girls for chlamydia in order to ensure that all those who are infected get diagnosed and treated, the researchers said. They added that the racial differences they discovered show the need for targeted interventions, particularly among black teen girls.

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