"These rates are of great concern, and the Army should implement routine screening of its female recruits at entry into the military to protect their health," says Charlotte Gaydos, Dr.P.H., associate professor of medicine at The Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine and lead author of the study appearing in the July issue of journal Sexually Transmitted Diseases.
"While chlamydia infection usually shows no symptoms in women, it is a major underlying cause of pelvic inflammatory disease, ectopic pregnancy and infertility," says Gaydos.
"These sustained high rates of chlamydia infection in female Army recruits provide clear justification for a chlamydia control program for young women entering the Army, consisting of initial screening and treatment followed by periodic rescreening," says Gaydos.
"Programs for screening and treating chlamydia infection have proven to be cost effective, especially when compared to the health problems associated with untreated infections, and a highly sensitive test is now available that requires only a urine sample," says Gaydos.
The researchers found several risk factors associated with infection, including black race, youth (under 25 years of age), Southern hometowns, more than one sex partner, and a history of other sexually transmitted diseases.
Gaydos and colleagues conducted urine-based testing for chlamydia on 23,010
non-healthcare-seeking female Army recruits between January 1996 and June
1999. Questionnaires were u
Johns Hopkins Medical Institutions