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CDC: About Five Percent of Young American Women have Chlamydia

Update Date: Sep 26, 2014 11:12 AM EDT

The latest numbers compiled by the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported that roughly 1.8 million young Americans between the ages of 14 and 39 have the sexually transmitted infection (STI), chlamydia. The officials added that many of them have no idea that they have it, which could increase other people's risk of infection.

The researchers conducted this report using data taking from the 2007 through to 2012 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey. They found that chlamydia rates were particularly high in young women with 4.7 percent of young girls between the ages of 14 and 24 infected with the disease in 2012.

"Chlamydia is common, and it's especially common in young women. Most young women who are infected don't know they have it," said study author Elizabeth Torrone, an epidemiologist with the CDC's division of STD prevention according to MSN Healthy Living. "This report really underscores the need for young women to be screened for chlamydia annually."

When left untreated, the infection can lead to several health problems, such as fertility and pregnancy complications. The report also found that the rates were the highest in black women. The infection rate was 13.5 percent in American black women aged 14 to 24. For Mexican-American and white women, the rates were 4.5 and 1.8 percent respectively.

Despite these high rates in women, the overall prevalence of this STI in people aged 14 to 34 has remained steady for about 10 years. From 2007 to 2008, the overall infection rate was at 1.6 percent. From 2009 to 2010 and 2011 to 2012, the rate increased slightly to 1.7 percent and then to 1.9 percent.

Non-federal health experts with the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force remind sexually active people under 25-years-old to get annual tests for STIs. Chlamydia can be detected via a urine test and is easily treated with antibiotics.

The report, "Prevalence of Chlamydia trachomatis Genital Infection Among Persons Aged 14-39 Years - United States, 2007-2012," was published in the CDC's Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.

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