In the Center for Disease Control and Preventions’ annual report on sexually transmitted diseases a startling statistic was found—Chlamydia rates are continuing to rise, and now exceed 1.1 million cases in the United States.
While raising concerns for both women and men, it is women who often suffer the long term consequences of sexually transmitted diseases.
In some cases women may not show symptoms of disease causing them to go undiagnosed, which often increases the likelihood of disease related complications. These can include pelvic inflammatory disease, and can lead to infertility. However when caught early, medication can help prevent complications, preventing unneeded stress or further medical costs to women.
In order to see changes in the rates of Chlamydia and other sexually transmitted diseases, it is important that we use a holistic approach to address the issue. Income levels, education, insurance and cultural factors can all play a role in disease onset and diagnosis, and it is important that efforts be made at the community level to create positive change.
In addition, comprehensive sex education as well as some form of universal health insurance would be beneficial to all women. Without affordable health insurance, it is unlikely that women can just cough up a few hundred dollars to see a gynecologist and test for a disease that they might or might not have, especially if they have no symptoms.
Contributed by Angela Donadic, Policy and Advocacy Fellow