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Teen Girls' Chlamydia Drives STD Rate Up

Memphis Tops Cities, Miss. Tops States With Highest Chlamydia Rates
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WebMD Health News
Reviewed by Louise Chang, MD

Nov. 16, 2009 - Teen girls and young women have the highest rates of chlamydia, the sexually transmitted disease that's exploding across the U.S.

More than 1.2 million cases have been officially reported, the largest number of cases for any of the diseases that must be reported to the CDC.

Because chlamydia infections usually don't cause symptoms until they result in pelvic inflammatory disease, many cases remain undetected and hence unreported. Sexually active girls and women under age 26 should be screened for chlamydia every year, but only 41.6% of eligible women enrolled in Medicaid or private health plans do so.

Chlamydia rates are three times higher in women than in men and eight times higher in African-Americans than in whites.

Left untreated, some 10% to 20% of chlamydia infections cause pelvic inflammatory disease. That can lead to long-lasting pelvic pain, ectopic pregnancy, and infertility. Every year, the CDC estimates, chlamydia and other STDs leave at least 24,000 U.S. women unable to bear children.

Girls ages 15 to 19 have the highest chlamydia rate: 3,276 cases per 100,000 females. The rate is only a little lower in women ages 20 to 24: 3,180 cases per 100,000 females.

Overall, chlamydia rates went up 9.2% from 2007 to 2008, the most recent year for which there is data. Some of the increase is due to increased screening, but the CDC suspects that much of the increase reflects a rising number of new infections.

Chlamydia rates ranged from state to state, with rates highest in Mississippi and Alaska (each with more than 700 cases per 100,000 population) and lowest in New Hampshire, West Virginia, Vermont, and Maine (each with under 200 cases per 100,000 population.

However, 57% of chlamydia cases are in cities. Here's the ranking, by chlamydia rate, of the 50 largest metropolitan areas in the U.S.:

 

Metropolitan Statistical Area

2008 Cases

2008 Rate
 per 100,000

Memphis, Tenn.-Miss.-Ark.

9,199

1,385.9

Virginia Beach-Norfolk-Newport News, Va.-N.C.

8,789

1,036.3

Birmingham-Hoover, Ala.

4,948

862.6

Detroit-Warren-Livonia, Mich.

18,826

824.1

Jacksonville, Fla.

5,392

810.8

Richmond, Va.

4,981

797.8

Baltimore-Towson, Md.

10,774

779.4

Austin-Round Rock, TX

5,933

760.4

Indianapolis, IN

6,352

736.9

Cincinnati-Middletown, OH-KY-IN

8,031

735.7

San Antonio, TX

7,206

709.7

Kansas City, MO-KS

7,115

703.7

St. Louis, MO-IL

10,166

702.3

Buffalo-Cheektowaga-Tonawanda, NY

4,076

697.6

New Orleans-Metairie-Kenner, LA

3,722

694.3

San Diego-Carlsbad-San Marcos, Calif.

10,257

692.7

Philadelphia-Camden-Wilmington, Pa.-NJ-DE-MD

20,708

687.8

Chicago-Naperville-Joliet, Ill.-Ind-Wis.

33,220

687.3

Oklahoma City, Okl.

4,119

681.3

Rochester, N..Y

3,594

680.9

Columbus, Ohio

6,027

678.5

Dallas-Fort Worth-Arlington, TX

20,125

658.5

Charlotte-Gastonia-Concord, NC-SC

5,469

649.6

Las Vegas-Paradise, NV

5,842

647.7

Denver-Aurora, CO

7,824

637.6

Houston-Baytown-Sugar Land, TX

17,287

615.4

U.S. MSA TOTAL

501,750

607.0

Orlando, FL

6,160

600.9

Cleveland-Elyria-Mentor, OH

6,487

595.9

Los Angeles-Long Beach-Santa Ana, CA

38,100

587.7

New York-Newark-Edison, NY-NJ-PA

56,829

584.9

Tampa-St. Petersburg-Clearwater, FL

8,099

579.4

Hartford-West Hartford-East Hartford, CT

3,474

569.4

Sacramento-Arden-Arcade-Roseville, CA

5,997

564.5

Atlanta-Sandy Springs-Marietta, GA

14,898

557.9

Louisville, Ky.-Ind.

3,504

554.3

Washington-Arlington-Alexandria, DC-VA-MD-WV

14,967

550.7

San Francisco-Oakland-Fremont, Calif.

11,514

544.5

Phoenix-Mesa-Scottsdale, Ariz.

10,725

518.3

Nashville-Davidson-Murfreesboro, Tenn.

3,916

507.5

Riverside-San Bernardino-Ontario, Calif.

10,009

490.9

Seattle-Tacoma-Bellevue, Wash.

7,975

481.2

San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara, Calif.

4,218

478.8

Miami-Fort Lauderdale-Miami Beach, Fla.

13,144

472.6

Minneapolis-St. Paul-Bloomington, Minn.-Wis.

7,037

436.5

Salt Lake City, Utah

2,254

417.0

Pittsburgh, Pa.

5,092

416.6

Portland-Vancouver-Beaverton, Ore.-Wash.

4,468

409.6

Providence-New Bedford-Fall River, R.I-.Mass.

3,327

402.3

Boston-Cambridge-Quincy, Mass.-N.H.

8,458

367.2

Milwaukee-Waukesha-West Allis, Wis.

1,116

141.3

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