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Nearly 2 Million Young Adults Have Chlamydia, Survey Finds

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A couple hold hands. A new survey finds 1.8 million teens and young adults have chlamydia.LEO RAMIREZ / AFP - Getty Images file

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Nearly 2 million young people have a sexually transmitted disease called chlamydia, a new survey finds, and close to 5 percent of sexually active young women aged up to 24 do. Most don’t know it and fewer than half are getting screened for it, a team at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found. A survey of more than 8,000 teens and young adults that included a test for the sexually transmitted disease found that 4.7 percent of sexually active 14 to 24-year-old women were infected. African-American women were far more vulnerable – 13.5 percent of sexually active girls and women in this age group were infected.

“As chlamydia is common and infections are usually asymptomatic, health care providers should routinely screen sexually active young women aged under 25,” CDC’s Elizabeth Torrone and colleagues wrote in their report. Overall, 1.7 percent of men and women aged 14 to 39 were infected, which adds up to about 1.8 million infections at any given time. Chlamydia can cause infertility and pelvic pain and it’s easily cured with antibiotics, so screening makes sense. Young people seem especially vulnerable.

“Although infection was more common among participants with multiple sex partners in the last year, prevalence among sexually active participants reporting only one partner in the last year was 1.4 percent, suggesting that not having had recent multiple partners does not eliminate risk for infection,” the researchers noted.

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— Maggie Fox

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