Young women between the ages of 14 and 19 are getting infected and reinfected with chlamydia at a rate higher than previously reported, according to a study published in the Archives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine in March.
Linda M. Niccolai, Ph.D., assistant professor of epidemiology (microbial diseases), tracked 411 young women over four years. More than half were diagnosed with the sexually transmitted disease and almost 30 percent reported repeated infections. Niccolai attributed the high rate of recurrent infection to multiple sex partners, lack of condom use and inadequate treatment of the young women’s sex partners.
Niccolai said it is important to educate and counsel patients at the time of the initial diagnosis.“It is possible that young women think chlamydia is ‘no big deal’ because it is easily treated with a single dose of oral antibiotics,” she said. Untreated, however, chlamydia can lead to pelvic inflammatory disease, complications of pregnancy, and sterility or reactive arthritis in men.