The U.S. chlamydia rate in women rose by 51 percent in the last decade, reflecting both better testing and a higher prevalence of the curable, sexually transmitted infection, says the federal government.
Between 2001 and 2011, the female chlamydia rate rose from 430 cases per 100,000 women to 649 cases per 100,000 women, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said in data released Monday.
Some states, including Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont and North Dakota, saw their female chlamydia rates double over that decade. But rates rose in every state, including heavily populated areas. In New York, for instance, New York's female chlamydia rate rose 82 percent, from 388 cases per 100,000 women in 2001 to 705 cases per 100,000 in 2011.
In Alaska, Louisiana and Mississippi, the female chlamydia rates topped 1,000 cases per 100,000 women. Maine had the lowest rate — 316 cases per 100,000 women — followed by New Hampshire and West Virginia.
Chlamydia is one of the few reportable sexually transmitted diseases. That reporting requirement, plus better diagnostic tests and public campaigns urging people to get tested for STDs, are likely to have led to high tallies of the disease.
Still the total number of chlamydia cases is growing steadily: In 2011, there were 1.4 million cases reported, compared to 783,242 cases reported in 2001.
The chlamydia rate in women is more than double that of men, the CDC said.
In February, the CDC reported that nearly 20 million new STD infections were reported in 2008, the latest year for comprehensive data.
Half these new infections occurred in people aged 15 to 24, said CDC epidemiologist Catherine Satterwhite, lead author of the February report.
The CDC further estimated that the United States spends $16 billion a year to treat HIV/AIDS, syphilis, gonorrhea, hepatitis B, chlamydia, trichomoniasis, herpes and human papillomavirus.
Chlamydia is a common, curable, bacterial infection. But it is often asymptomatic and, when left untreated, can quickly infect, inflame and scar delicate reproductive tissues.
Chlamydia infections are associated with infertility, ectopic pregnancy, and chronic pelvic pain. As a result, the CDC recommends sexually active women aged 25 and younger receive annual screenings for chlamydia.
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