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Prevalence of chlamydia high among young adults in U.S.

Approximately 4 percent of young adults in the U.S. have chlamydial infection, with substantial racial/ethnic disparities present in the prevalence, according to a study in the May 12 issue of The Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA).

According to background information in the article, the sexually transmitted diseases Chlamydia trachomatis (chlamydia) and Neisseria gonorrhoeae (gonorrhea) cause substantial illness in the United States. In women, chlamydial and gonococcal infections may cause pelvic inflammatory disease, tubal infertility, chronic pelvic pain, and ectopic pregnancy. Chlamydial infection may also be linked to cervical cancer. Chlamydial and gonococcal infections may increase susceptibility to and transmission of human immunodeficiency virus in both men and women. Early detection and treatment of these infections is challenging because most women and men with chlamydial infection and many women with gonorrhea are asymptomatic. Although screening for chlamydia is widely recommended among young adult women, little information is available regarding the prevalence of chlamydial and gonococcal infections in the general young adult population.

William C. Miller, M.D., Ph.D., M.P.H., of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, N.C., and colleagues conducted a study involving a nationally representative sample of 14,322 young adults aged 18 to 26 years. In-home interviews were conducted across the United States for Wave III of The National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health (Add Health) from April 2, 2001, to May 9, 2002. This study sample represented 66.3 percent of the original 18,924 participants in Wave I of Add Health. Urine specimens were available for 12,548 (87.6 percent) of the Wave III participants, and were tested for evidence of chlamydial and gonococcal infections.

The researchers found that the overall prevalence of chlamydial infection in this sample of young adults was 4.19 percent. Preval
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Contact: David Williamson
919-962-8596
JAMA and Archives Journals
11-May-2004


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