19. CHLAMYDIA -- THE MOST WIDESPREAD VENEREAL DISEASE
One hundred thousand women a year are becoming sterile from NGU (nongonococcal
urethritis), an inflammation of the urinary tube commonly called Chlamydia.
It infects some 3 to 10 million Americans each year, making it far more
widespread than either gonorrhea or genital herpes, and the most significant
sexually transmitted disease in American medicine. NGU is really many
diseases with most of them being called Chlamydia; some are Urealyticum,
and others are still unknown. These infections are a major cause of
PID (pelvic inflammatory disease) which causes sterility.
Chlamydia organisms are parasites that live and reproduce inside cells.
One to three weeks after exposure, a man might develop penile discharge,
painful urination, and frequent need to urinate. In women symptoms can
include vaginal discharge, lower abdominal discomfort and painful urination.
Many times before any acute symptoms show up, sterility might already
-- 20% of the time, chronic, ongoing lifetime pain results for both
men and women because of acute scarring caused by infection;
-- 40% of all female infertility in this country is PID/Chlamydia
related, and in men it is a leading cause of infections of the urinary
tract and often causes sterility;
-- 5% to 10% of all pregnant women are infected with Chlamydia at
the time of delivery; each year an estimated 75,000 infants develop
Chlamydia conjunctivitis and 30,000 get pneumonia from the infected
-- 16% to 18% of all sexually active teen-agers have Chlamydia infections
and the rate of tubal infection is about ten times higher in infected
teenagers than in women in their twenties;
-- Menstruation fuels PID/Chlamydia in women with 75% of the cases
occurring seven days after a period;
-- After having one episode, 23% of the people will develop another
-- In tropical countries, Chlamydia causes a serious venereal disease
spread by flies which often causes blindness.
The press should make the general public-more aware of the widespread
nature of Chlamydia and that there is now a new test which is faster
and more accurate than the old tissue culture test.
ALBURQUERQUE SINGLES, September 1984, "Silent Partners,"
by Isabel Bearman Bucher, p 12; NEW YORK TIMES, 6/5/84, "Infection
Linked to Sex Surpasses Gonorrhea," by Jane E. Brody, and 10/8/84,
"Fast and Accurate Chlamydia Test Reporter," by Phillip M.