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Got Chlamydia? Hundreds of Thousands are Undiagnosed

By HERWriter
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Got Chlamydia? Hundreds of Thousands not diagnosed  Lev Dolgachov/PhotoSpin

Hundreds of thousands of cases of chlamydia go undiagnosed each year, research by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention suggests.

The study was conducted through the United States National Center for HIV/AIDS, Viral Hepatitis, STD, and TB Prevention.

Scientists' calculations were formulated by analyzing the information provided within the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) from 2007 through 2012.

This study involved about 5,000 subjects from across American annually and included both children and adults.

Researchers found that 1.7 percent of men and women ages 14-39 have chlamydia, which works out to about 1.8 million infections each year in the United States.

There are 1.4 million cases reported to the CDC each year. As a reportable disease, all diagnoses of chlamydia are supposed to be reported to the CDC. That discrepancy signifies that as many as 400,000 cases of chlamydia not only go unreported, but likely go undiagnosed every year.

A major reason why chlamydia is so often undiagnosed is that it often produces no symptoms. Unlike other STDs which result in the appearance of symptoms within a matter of days after infection, chlamydia does not. And when symptoms do appear, they may be mild and resolve quickly.

Symptoms can include abnormal discharge from the penis or vagina, a burning sensation during urination, and pain or swelling in the testicles for men.

Along with the revelation of under-reported cases, they also found that young women are at a much greater risk of harboring chlamydia.

The investigators found that the chlamydia infection rate is highest among sexually active girls aged 14-19, at 6.4 percent, HealthDay News reported. The rate among sexually active boys aged 14-19 is 2.4 percent.

Among these female adolescents, chlamydia infection is nearly six times more common in African-Americans than in their white counterparts. The rate found among the African-American girls was 18.6 percent, while the teenage white girls had a much lower rate of 3.2 percent.

These findings show the importance of screening all sexually active teen girls for chlamydia to ensure that all those who are infected get both diagnosis and treatment.

Researchers added that the racial differences they discovered show the need for targeted interventions, particularly among black teen girls, according to HealthDay News.

If caught, chlamydia can be easily cured with antibiotics. Untreated chlamydia, however, can lead to pelvic inflammatory disease, which can in turn cause scarring in a woman’s fallopian tubes and lead to infertility.


"400,000 chlamydia infections undiagnosed in US, study finds." Fox News. FOX News Network, 11 June 2014. Web. 4 Aug. 2014.

Kempner, Martha. "This Week in Sex: Hook-Up Apps and STDs, Undiagnosed Chlamydia, and Bears Having Oral Sex." RH Reality Check. N.p., n.d. Web. 4 Aug. 2014.

Levine, Beth. "Chlamydia Vastly Undiagnosed." Baseline of Health. N.p., n.d. Web. 4 Aug. 2014.

Preidt, Robert. "Many STDs May Go Undiagnosed, U.S. Report Finds." Consumer HealthDay. N.p., n.d. Web. 4 Aug. 2014.

Reviewed August 11, 2014
by Michele Blacksberg RN
Edited by Jody Smith

Add a Comment3 Comments

EmpowHER Guest

My parter a d I have been diagnosed for chlamydia 2 years ago before we got married. Then been diagnosed as well for UTI myself. Now i am unsure if we still have this infection. I am worried of not getting pregnant and cancer issues. Is there any possibility that it would come back? A month ago, i have been scratching my private part, lightly foul smell there is, yellowish/greenish discharge and pain when urinating. All these symptoms i felt before. And my partner's penis smells as well.

I am so worried. Help us please..
Thank you so much

August 22, 2014 - 12:08am
Expert HERWriter
Has no one ever been able to tell you why you have all these complications along with the resounding odor or smell? You are right... some doctors don't know and can't know everything. That's why sites like EmpowHER are so helpful. I'm going to do some searching and ask a couple of our sexual health doctors to see what they think it could be. You shouldn't have to live like this. That's just not right! Let's see what are moderators come back with as well. So sorry you have to go through this! It's not bad enough that you were raped, my heart goes out to you, but to have no one who can help you figure out what you have is not just not acceptable. Thank you for sharing your story! I'm sure it's not easy to share such personal information... But you are in a very safe place here at EmpowHER. That's why I created the site should you could share and be your own best advocate which is exactly what you're doing. Big Hugs! August 21, 2014 - 2:46pm
EmpowHER Guest

All I know is that after being raped, sorry, I started to smell, then got ulcers or cysts in my womb and every period is painful.

Smells really bad. I also got big dark spots that left dark pigmentation that scabs with a hole in the middle, so the spot scabs over peels off then turns black circle like black marks on my face. Doctors don't know everything, it would seem like I was making it up. I been checked for nearly all STD's and nothing was found. Early on I went out with a half african and white guy, brought up in africa and I got a infection something I am unsure of but they said if I had children my kids would get it.

These things are real, doctors do not know everything there is to know. Why do I smell like that - I remember the white male smelt weird and I assumed that was how they smelt - it was a bad smell like something raw and hotdogish, musty. I really thought that was what the what they smelt like and it was awful.

Then I started getting all these complications.

August 21, 2014 - 1:19pm
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We value and respect our HERWriters' experiences, but everyone is different. Many of our writers are speaking from personal experience, and what's worked for them may not work for you. Their articles are not a substitute for medical advice, although we hope you can gain knowledge from their insight.

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