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ACOG: Too Many Patients Not Screened for Chlamydia

Screening recommended for all sexually active women age 25 and younger

FRIDAY, May 11 (HealthDay News) -- There were 976,000 chlamydia cases reported in the United States in 2005, and the true number could have been around 2.8 million because many cases aren't diagnosed. Adolescents and young women aren't being routinely screened, experts warned this week at the annual clinical meeting of the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists in San Diego.

All women aged 25 and younger who are sexually active, and asymptomatic women of any age who might be at high risk, should be screened annually for chlamydia, according to ACOG, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force.

However, "studies show it isn't happening," said ACOG's executive vice president Stanley Zinberg, M.D., in a statement. Screening women more often could prevent 60,000 cases of pelvic inflammatory disease, 8,000 cases of chronic pelvic pain, and 7,500 cases of infertility.

Girls aged 15 to 19 have the highest rates of chlamydia, but physicians may not screen because they believe prevalence is low in their patients, according to David E. Soper, M.D., professor of ob-gyn at the Medical University of South Carolina in Charleston.

"As physicians, we need to dispel the stigma and bias that so often surround sexually transmitted diseases," Soper said in a statement. "The reality is that sexually transmitted diseases are diseases of humanity. Humans become infected doing what humans do. If the doctor doesn't bring the subject up, women should ask to be screened without embarrassment."

Abstract

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