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Chlamydia Infections Remain High Among Young Adult Females in the United States

Although the incidence of Chlamydia trachomatis infections remains high among young women (ages 14-24), new data presented at the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) 2018 STD Conference indicate that prevalence of the sexually-transmitted infection (STI) is decreasing.

For the study, a team of investigators led by Kristen Kreisel, PhD, Epidemiologist Surveillance and Data Management Branch, Division of STD Prevention, CDC, examined estimated Chlamydia trachomatis prevalence data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES). Specifically, the team analyzed laboratory data collected from women between 14 and 39 years for 4, 2-year time periods (2001-2004, 2005-2008, 2009-2012, and 2013-2016). According to the study abstract, the investigators then estimated the weighted prevalence of Chlamydia trachomatis infections with 95% confidence intervals (CI), “overall and by sociodemographics, for each time period, and estimated the average percent change (APC) across time periods using JoinPoint software, fitting trend data to a log-linear model.”

The results of the study revealed that although the prevalence of Chlamydia trachomatis infections among females aged 14 to 39 remained relatively stable between 2001 and 2016, there was a decrease in prevalence from 2001-2004 where the prevalence was 2.3% (95% CI: 1.6%, 3.0%) and 2013-2016, when the prevalence was 1.7% (95% CI: 1.2%, 2.2%. APC: -2.2%; 95% CI: -5.9%, 1.7%; P = .14). Among young women (14-24 years of age) prevalence of Chlamydia trachomatis infections was 3.6% (95% CI: 2.4%, 4.8%) during 2001-2004, and 2.8% (95% CI: 1.8%, 3.9%) during 2013-2016 (APC: -1.9%; 95% CI: -4.6%, 0.8%; P = .10).

Among young women between the ages of 14 and 19, the prevalence of Chlamydia trachomatis infections decreased from 3.9% in 2001-2004, to 2.3% in 2013-2016 (APC: -3.9%; 95% CI: -7.0%, -0.8%; P = .03), according to the study results.

Despite being the target population for screening of Chlamydia trachomatis infections, young women aged 14 to 24, are still dealing with a high incidence of the STI. The results indicate that in the past 15 years, however, there has been some progress toward decreasing its prevalence.  

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