- CHICAGO (Reuters) - Few of those infected with two common sexually transmitted
diseases are aware of any symptoms, suggesting the need for routine screening
of all young adults in clinics, doctor's offices and even high schools,
researchers said on Tuesday.
- A survey of 728 young adults in Baltimore
found 5 percent had an untreated infection with gonorrhea and 3 percent
had an untreated chlamydia infection.
- But only a tiny proportion of those infected
said they had recognizable symptoms such as a burning sensation or discharges
during urination. The study surveyed adults aged 18 to 35.
- A majority of cases of the two sexually
transmitted diseases go undiagnosed, and sexually active teen-agers are
also becoming infected, wrote study author Charles Turner of the Research
Triangle Institute in Washington.
- "Strategies for reducing the prevalence
of infection in this population might include screening or routine testing
in health care settings for the entire population of young adults, including
persons who formerly would be considered to be at low risk of infection,"
Turner wrote in this week's Journal of the American Medical Association.
- Black women were at the highest risk
of infection with gonorrhea or chlamydia, which can lead to chronic pelvic
pain, infertility, potentially fatal ectopic pregnancies, and facilitate
the transmission of the AIDS virus.
- Improvements in testing and risk assessments
for these diseases should lower barriers to routine screening that might
entail urine testing for chlamydia in high schools, Dr. Dennis Fortenberry
of the Indiana University School of Medicine wrote in an accompanying editorial.
- Not embarking on testing programs because
of cost, confidentiality or the problem of false-positive results are simply
"veils that no longer seem affordable," he wrote.
- "Embarrassment on the part of the
patient or clinician or poor assessment of sexual health risk are common
but not satisfactory reasons for avoiding this task," he wrote.