19. CHLAMYDIA -- THE MOST WIDESPREAD VENEREAL DISEASE -- LEADS
      TO STERILITY

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 have occurred.

-- 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 birth canal;

-- 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 one;

-- 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.

SOURCES:

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. Boffey.