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High rates of STDs spur callout to screen young patients
e-Reports, April 29, 2013
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Health officials are concerned about Indiana’s high rates of sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) and are encouraging you to screen adolescent patients. Compared to the rest of the nation, the state ranks particularly high in cases of gonorrhea and chlamydia.

“About 34 percent of women in Indiana under age 25 are screened annually for chlyamydia,” said Joan Duwve, M.D., chief medical officer for the Indiana State Department of Health. “I encourage physicians to develop procedures in their practices to screen all women under age 25 for STDs, especially chlamydia, regardless of your perception of risk. It is especially important for teens, even if they claim to not be sexually active.”

Percentage of sexually active female enrollees aged 16-25 years* who were screened for Chlamydia trachomatis infection
     YEAR    
 2000  2002  2004  2006  2008
 17.9%  20.8%  31.1%  38.0%  34.9%
In the latest year, 2008, 17 health plans reported and there were 75,278 sexually active enrollees in Indiana.
SOURCE: CDC *Age range for data collected by year: 16-26 for 2000/2002; 16-25 for 2004/2006; 16-24 for 2008

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that in a study of 838 girls ages 14-19, one in four had a sexually transmitted disease, most often HPV, followed by chlamydia, trichomoniasis and herpes. However, only half of the teens in the study admitted to being sexually active.

“There are a few reasons teens will not admit their sexual activity to their doctors,” noted Dr. Duwve. “They may feel embarrassed, or they may believe that oral sex is not sex, which is a common perception.”

Find screening tips from the CDC here. Read about the biological factors of STDs here.

See how Indiana compares with other states in screening for chlamydia as reported by commercial and state Medicaid plans at the CDC.

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