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Chlamydia Screening

Q: Who should be screened for chlamydia?

Dr. Donnica:
The third U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) announced their recommendation (on 4/17/01) that primary care clinicians routinely screen all women, whether or not they are pregnant, if they:

  • Are sexually active and aged 25 or younger.
  • Have more than one sexual partner, regardless of age.
  • Have had an STD in the past, regardless of age.
  • Do not use condoms consistently and correctly, regardless of age.

According to the USPSTF, routine screening of women in any of these categories may reduce their risk of infertility and, if they are pregnant, may improve the health of their newborn babies. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), states with chlamydia screening programs have reported that chlamydial infection rates in women have been reduced by as much as 67 percent since those screening programs were implemented. 

The third USPSTF report makes no recommendation for or against screening women older than 26 who are not otherwise at risk. They conclude that the benefits of routine screening are likely to be small, but screening may be appropriate for some women. The USPSTF concludes that there is not enough evidence to recommend screening men who have no symptoms.

The second USPSTF made similar recommendations regarding screening for chlamydial infection in 1996. Based on new evidence published since then, the third USPSTF has reinforced those recommendations.

For more information on chlamydia, click here

Created: 4/16/2001  -  Donnica Moore, M.D.

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