Academic journal article ABNF Journal

Chlamydia: A Major Health Threat to Adolescents and Young Adults

Academic journal article ABNF Journal

Chlamydia: A Major Health Threat to Adolescents and Young Adults

Article excerpt

Abstract: Sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) constitute a major health burden in the United States, causing a number of health problems. Of the top 10 infections reported to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), five were STDs -chlamydia, gonorrhea, AIDS, syphilis, and hepatitis B. Chlamydia trachomatis infections are among the most prevalent of all STDs, and is the most common sexually transmitted bacterial infection in the United States. The CDC estimates that about four million acute infections occur each year. The number of cases that are reported to the CDC has increased every year since 1995. The highest incidence of Chlamydia is in teens and young adults from the ages of 15 to 25 years. It is prevalent in lower socioeconomic groups and large urban populations, particularly African Americans. This major health problem is a serious threat to teens and young adults, both male and female, but particularly African Americans. This paper addresses this major health problem by providing a brief overview of STDs, and discusses the most common sexually transmitted disease that women experience-Chlamydia. The discussion will include an overview, prevalence, pathophysiology, diagnosis, treatment, and screening for Chlamydia and observations from research.

Key Words: STDs, Sexually Transmitted Diseases, Chlamydia.

Sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) refer to more than 25 infectious organisms transmitted primarily through sexual activity. Worldwide, an estimated 333 million cases of curable STDs occur annually (Tsui, Wasserheit, & Haaga, 1997, cited in Healthy People 2010). In 1995, STDs accounted for 87 percent of the 10 infections most frequently reported to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Of the top 10 infections, five were STDs -chlamydia, gonorrhea, AIDS, syphilis, and hepatitis B (American Social Health Association, 1998, as cited in Healthy People 2010). One of the goals of Healthy People 2010 is to "promote responsible sexual behaviors, strengthen community capacity, and increase access to quality services to prevent sexually transmitted disease and their complications." (Healthy People 2010, 2002, p. 2). Despite recent progress toward controlling some STDs, when compared to other industrialized nations, the United States has failed to go far enough or fast enough in its national attempt to contain acute STDs and STD-related complications (Healthy People 2010).

This paper addresses this major health problem by providing a brief overview of STDs, and discusses the most common sexually transmitted disease that women experience - Chlamydia. The discussion will include an overview, prevalence, pathophysiology, diagnosis, treatment, and screening for Chlamydia and observations from research. A newer term for sexually transmitted disease is sexually transmitted infection (STI). For the purpose of this paper, the older term of sexually transmitted disease (STD) will be used.

STDs: AN OVERVIEW

Sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) constitute a major health burden in the United States, causing a number of health problems including pelvic inflammatory diseases, ectopic pregnancy, infertility, chronic pelvic pain, genital lesions, genital neoplasm, adverse pregnancy outcomes, immune system dysfunction, liver disease and even death. STDs disproportionately affect adolescents and young adults. Of the 15 million STDs that occur in the United States, four million are among adolescents and six million are among young adults. The current epidemic is complicated by the high asymptomatic carrier state associated with most STDs and the inadequate protection of condoms in preventing transmission (Sulak, 2003).

Like most major health problems, disparities exist in relation to the prevalence of STDs; however, STDs affect all racial, cultural, economic and religious groups with some groups being disproportionately affected by STDs and their complications. In addition, disparities exist in relation to age and gender. …

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