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WETZSTEIN: Sounding alarm on ‘silent disease’
Sadly, even if a woman feels “something’s wrong,” there are plenty of other reasons to explain it, such as menstrual pain or indigestion, she said.
Dr. Shuford’s assessment is this:
• Although 1.1 million new chlamydia infections are reported, as many as 2 million more cases are unreported. Thus, countless men and women go untreated — and quietly transmit the infection. (Most men don’t have symptoms, either.)
• Of untreated chlamydia infections in women, from 10 percent to 40 percent will end in PID.
• Roughly 1 million women a year are treated for PID (from chlamydia and other sources), and more than 100,000 of these women will end up infertile.
On the bright side, “chlamydia is easily curable with standard treatment,” Dr. Shuford said.
But outside of abstinence or sex with only a monogamous, infection-free partner, it will be hard to avoid. Condoms are about 50 percent protective, according to the sparse research, she said.
Thus, the sad story I heard is just one of many, many out there. Countless young people won’t even discover their damaged reproductive systems until they are trying to conceive and it doesn’t happen. Untreated chlamydia sterilizes men, too.
“Infertility will continue to rise as long as chlamydia continues to rise,” Dr. Shuford said. “It’s silent. It’s happening to so many people. There’s no need to feel stigmatized [by getting chlamydia],” she added. “You just need to go get treated.”
• Cheryl Wetzstein can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
About the Author
Cheryl Wetzstein covers family and social issues as a national reporter for The Washington Times. She has been a reporter for three decades, working in New York City and Washington, D.C. Since joining The Washington Times in 1985, she has been a features writer, environmental and consumer affairs reporter, and assistant business editor.
Beginning in 1994, Mrs. Wetzstein worked exclusively ...
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