New estimates from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention show that nearly 2 million Americans have chlamydia. That's a lot of people. According to a recent report, about 1.7 percent of a group of 8,000 adult participants were found to be infected during an STI screening between 2007 and 2012 -- which translates to about 1.8 million infections nationwide.
The rates of infection was higher among young women than other groups, which researchers attribute to the possible use of hormonal contraception, which in many instances might lead couples to have sex without a barrier method. A quick reminder, now backed up by the nearly 5 percent of women between the ages of 14 and 24 who have chlamydia: hormonal contraception does not protect against sexually transmitted infections. Although researchers found that the risk of infection was higher for people who had multiple sexual partners within the previous year, the infection rate for sexually active adults with just one partner was 1.4 percent. The finding indicates that monogamy does not eliminate the risk of getting chlamydia, and only underscores the need for STI testing and safe sex practices.
One of the most troubling estimates was for young black women, for reasons the researchers have yet to pinpoint. Black females had a rate of 13.5 percent, compared to 1.8 percent for white women. The report suggests that the massive disparity could reflect "decreased access to routine preventive care that includes chlamydia screening and timely partner treatment." In other words, black women -- and other women of color -- who tend to be disproportionately affected by limited access to healthcare are likely suffering damaging health effects as a result.
The report notes that fewer than half of sexually active women are screened yearly for chlamydia, although the CDC recommends annual screening for all sexually active women under the age of 25, older women who have new or multiple sex partners and men who have anal sex. It's also just good for everyone to get tested -- especially since chlamydia is the most commonly reported STI in the U.S., but most people don't show symptoms. So: use a condom and go get screened!
(h/t Live Science)