According to OB-GYN Montgomery County Dr. Rania Ibrahim, changes in how women are tested for cervical cancer means they’re getting Pap tests less often. But that could also mean that young women are not getting tested for chlamydia, which is the most common sexually transmitted disease.
According to studies, the number of teens and young women getting annual Pap tests has declined throughout the years, as did the number of young women getting screened for chlamydia. Chlamydia infects approximately 3 million men and women each year. It’s most commonly diagnosed in young women between the ages of 15 and 24, and if left, can cause pelvic inflammatory disease, making it difficult for women to get pregnant. It can also result in preterm delivery, and conjunctivitis and pneumonia in newborns.
Your OB-GYN Montgomery County reports that chlamydia is easily treated with antibiotics. But because people with chlamydia often don’t exhibit any symptoms, most people are diagnosed via screening tests. The CDC recommends yearly chlamydia screening for all sexually active women under the age of 25, as well as older women with known risk factors.
It’s not hard to connect a shift in guidelines with a decrease in Pap tests being performed, since evidence shows that annual screening isn’t necessary and can lead to needless treatment.
So what do Pap smears have to do with screening for chlamydia?
Until 2000, chlamydia screening was typically performed using a sample taken from the cervix, often at the same time that a Pap smear was performed. Your OB-GYN Montgomery County believes that one reason women aren’t getting screened for chlamydia is the absence of knowledge about noninvasive screening methods, such as a urine sample or vaginal swab.
Some patients never come in for preventive visits – such as checkups – so OB-GYNs should use problem visits as an opportunity to perform desirable screening tests, including chlamydia screening in young women. Highly functional provider groups (like Kaiser) are achieving chlamydia screening rates in the mid-to-high 80 percent range, based on an excellent electronic medical record.
The bottom line is that chlamydia is easily treated and curable and appropriate screening can greatly reduce this infection among young people.
If you or your daughter have not had a Pap smear recently, it may be time to call the office of OB-GYN Montgomery County Dr. Rania Ibrahim today to schedule a confidential consultation.