Posted by on April 4, 2012 - 12:40pm

Just 38 percent of sexually active young women were screened for chlamydia in the previous year in the United States, according to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. CDC recommends annual screening for all sexually active women aged 25 and under.   If recent policies related to health care reform that focus on preventive care are cut, this problem could become worse.

Overall testing rates remain low, although testing was most common among African-American women, those who had multiple sex partners, and those who received public insurance or were uninsured. Researchers find this encouraging because these are some of the groups at highest risk for chlamydia.

“This new research makes it clear that we are missing too many opportunities to protect young women from health consequences that can last a lifetime,” said Kevin Fenton, M.D., from the CDC.   “Annual chlamydia screening can protect young women’s reproductive health now and safeguard it for the future.”

Chlamydia is the most commonly reported infectious disease in the United States, and young people are most affected. Because people often do not have symptoms, many infections go undetected and untreated. Untreated chlamydia can have severe long-term health consequences, particularly for young women, including chronic pelvic pain, potentially fatal ectopic pregnancy and infertility. Rates of chlamydia in the the US are relatively low compared to third world countries where the incidence rate soar and screening programs are rare.

CDC recommends that anyone diagnosed with chlamydia be retested three months after initial treatment to ensure that those who may have become reinfected can be promptly treated with antibiotics. However, additional data presented at the conference show that retesting rates remain low and many reinfections likely are being missed.  Chlamydia can be easily treated and cured with antibiotics, and retesting plays a vital role in preventing serious future health consequences.


Posted by on April 11, 2011 - 3:01pm

The White House and Congress have reached a budget deal over last weekend to keep the federal government running for the short term. Congress is expected to vote on the longer-term budget soon.  Women's health and reproductive health was taken off the table for the short term solution, however, these issues are likely to rise when Congress begins debating long term budget solutions.  Here's the issue:

Conservatives (mainly Republicans)  have been pushing to strip federal funding from Planned Parenthood during the budget talks.  In addition, they want to redirect federal dollars now set aside for family planning and women's health services into block grants to be managed by the states. Democrats argue this policy change would give governors and state legislatures more ability to cut funding for services opposed by conservatives.  For those of you who may not understand the political implications of federal vs state funding policies, consider this.   If one state is socially liberal and is next to a more conservative state, there is a real possibility that more poverty stricken individuals will consider moving to a state with more liberal assistance programs, thus increasing the burden on the state that is more "giving".   This creates a two tiered system of entitlement and in the end creates further divisiveness.

I looked up the services provided by Planned Parenthood in my home state of Illinois.   In 2009, 70,738 people received STD testing (includes both women and men), 24,055 women had PAP tests, 26,579 had breast exams, and 54,470 were seen for birth control.  More than 95% of those served earned less than $21,000 per year.   Who do you think would be hurt most if Planned Parenthood lost their funding?