Acquisition of Chlamydia trachomatis by Young Women During Their First Year of Military Service

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Objectives:To define the acquisition rate of Chlamydia trachomatis among a cohort of young, nonhealth-care seeking, sexually active women with well-defined exposure periods over a 12-month period.Goal:The long-term goal is to inform public health practitioners and young women of the risk of reinfection with C. trachomatis and the need for frequent active screening to eliminate asymptomatic infections over time.Study Design:Young sexually active female Marine Corps recruits (N = 332), serving as “controls” for an intervention to prevent sexually transmitted infections, were screened for C. trachomatis using nucleic acid amplification tests (treated if positive) at entry (T1). They were rescreened and completed self-report behavioral surveys at 4 weeks (T2) and 9 to 12 months (T3) from recruit training.Main Outcome Measure:The rate of C. trachomatis acquisition during a contiguous 12-month period.Results:Based on microbiologic laboratory testing alone, the acquisition rate for C. trachomatis was 3.6% (T2) and 9.9% (T3) yielding a total of 13.0%. The self-reported acquisition rate for the period since graduation from recruit training was 8.1% yielding a total acquisition rate of 19.9%.Conclusions:The acquisition rate among this cohort of nonhealth-care seeking young women, who have universal health care access is as high or higher than most clinic-based studies, suggesting the need for increased implementation of active screening in primary, urgent, and nonclinic settings.

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