By Colleen OakleyWould you send your husband to boot camp? Install a stripper pole in your
bedroom? As these five couples discovered, when love is on the skids, sometimes
you have to take a big risk to get it back on track.
Every marriage has its ups and downs, but when you hit a really rough spot,
where do you turn? Sure, there's couples counseling, but not every couple (and
definitely, let's face it, not every guy) takes to it. In fact, just as
every relationship is different, so is the recipe...
Three out of four infected women -- and one in two infected men
-- don't get early symptoms. But this doesn't mean it just goes away.
Two of five infected women will go on to develop pelvic
inflammatory disease, or PID. PID means infertility 20% of the time; debilitating chronic
pelvic pain 18% of the time; and a life-threatening tubal pregnancy 9% of the time. It can make men sterile, too.
And if a woman with chlamydia does become pregnant, she has up to a 50-50
chance of passing it on to her newborn child. Infants can die or become blind
as a result.
"PID is very serious," says Kimberly A. Workowski, MD,
FACP, chief of the guidelines unit of the CDC's Division of STD Prevention and
associate professor of medicine at Emory University, in Atlanta. "The issue
is to screen women and detect chlamydia before serious complications
A Reservoir of Chlamydia
That sounds easy, but the numbers tell a different story. In
2000, the CDC had 379,078 reported cases of chlamydia infection. By the end of
July 2001, improved screening led to 362,229 reported cases. These reports
usually mean a case that has been detected and cured -- in other words, the tip
of the iceberg.
"Part of problem is there is such a reservoir of people out
there carrying the infection and not knowing it," says Workowski,
frustration evident in her voice. "Treatment is effective. There are
good therapies and in fact one medicine that is available can be given in the
office so you can watch the patient take it."
The problem is finding people who are at risk and convincing
them that their lives -- and those of their loved ones -- are in danger.
Who's at risk? The short answer is, all sexually active people.
Since men more frequently get unmistakable early symptoms -- a discharge from
the penis, a burning sensation during urination, or swollen testicles -- they
are more likely to get treated.