Chlamydia Screening Rates Too Low, Reinfection Rates Too High

Ob-Gyns Reiterate Need for Screening Early and Often

March 26, 2012

Washington, DC -- Only 38 percent of sexually active young women are screened for chlamydia, according to data released by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) at the recent National STD Prevention Conference. CDC data also found that despite high rates of reinfection, just over one-fifth of women with a confirmed chlamydia infection were retested within six months as recommended by the CDC.

With an estimated 2.8 million new infections each year, chlamydia is the most commonly reported infectious disease in the US. Young women ages 15–24 have the highest rates of chlamydia and gonorrhea—both of these sexually transmitted infections (STIs) pose a serious risk to women’s reproductive health. The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (The College) and the CDC recommend  chlamydia and gonorrhea screeningannual for all sexually active women age 25 and younger. 

Most chlamydia and gonorrhea infections cause symptoms that are vague, if any are present at all, often leading to a delay in seeking care. These diseases can develop into pelvic inflammatory disease, which can lead to ectopic pregnancy and infertility. However, when quickly diagnosed, both STIs can be easily treated. 

“Young women are disproportionately affected by chlamydia and gonorrhea and, if left untreated, the reproductive consequences can be dire. Unfortunately, the majority of the women at risk are not getting screened,” said Gerald F. Joseph, MD, The College’s Vice President of Practice Activities. “Ob-gyns have the opportunity to make a real impact in reversing this trend. We must make it a point to educate all sexually active women 25 and younger ensure they receive the care they need to safeguard their health today and in the future.”


Additional Recommendations and Resources:

  • Reinfection rates following an initial chlamydial or gonorrheal infection can be as high as 26 percent, usually because an untreated partner continues to pass the infection back to the treated partner. The College encourages ob-gyns to prescribe antibiotics for the male partners of their female patients diagnosed with chlamydia or gonorrhea to reduce reinfections.
  • Committee Opinion #506 – Expedited Partner Therapy in the Management of Gonorrhea and Chlamydia by Obstetrician-Gynecologists
  • Patient FAQ – Chlamydia, Gonorrhea, and Syphilis


 ***Join College experts for our next #ACOGchat on STDs – Thursday 3/29 @ 1PM EST***

The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (The College), a 501(c)(3) organization, is the nation’s leading group of physicians providing health care for women. As a private, voluntary, nonprofit membership organization of approximately 55,000 members, The College strongly advocates for quality health care for women, maintains the highest standards of clinical practice and continuing education of its members, promotes patient education, and increases awareness among its members and the public of the changing issues facing women’s health care. The American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG), a 501(c)(6) organization, is its companion organization.


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