Infection due to Chlamydia trachomatis is the most commonly reported STI in the United States. In 2012, the CDC reported approximately 1.4 million cases of chlamydial infection. Most of these cases occurred in females aged 15-24 years. Sexually active female populations average chlamydial carriage rates of about 20%.
Because many patients remain asymptomatic, estimating the true annual incidence of chlamydial infection is difficult; hence, screening for this STI is important. Infections can persist for months to years, and reinfection is common. Untreated females can present with urethritis or cervicitis and progress to acute or chronic pelvic inflammatory disease, ectopic pregnancy, or infertility.
Detection is done using nucleic acid amplification tests from either a vaginal swab or a first-catch or "dirty" urine specimen. Currently, the US Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) recommends screening for chlamydial infection in all sexually active, nonpregnant young women aged 24 and younger. The USPSTF concludes that the current evidence is insufficient to assess the balance of benefits and harms of screening for chlamydial infection in men.
For more information on the epidemiology of chlamydia, read here.
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