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Chlamydia May Affect 10% of Young Men

Study: Most Common STD Produced No Symptoms in 90% of Those Infected

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When detected early, chlamydia can easily be treated with antibiotics. Sexual partners must also be treated to avoid recurrence of the infection. But untreated, it can cause several health problems in both sexes. In women, untreated chlamydia can lead to pelvic inflammatory disease, infertility, and ectopic pregnancies. In men, untreated chlamydia typically causes a less serious urethral infection, but it can lead to epididymitis, which results in testicular swelling and severe pain.

Chlamydia can also infect unborn children. Each year, about 180,000 American babies born to infected mothers suffer pneumonia or conjunctivitis, an inflammation of membranes in the eye that may lead to blindness.

"What's nice about this study is that since we've focused on asymptomatic infections in women over the last several years, looking at the role of asymptomatic infections in men is a useful addition to our epidemiological data," says Carolyn Deal, PhD, chief of the Sexually Transmitted Diseases Branch of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. "However, this was a select group, and you must always be cautious about translating data from one group to another for a variety of reasons."

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