Despite strong recommendations that all sexually active young women age 25 and younger receive a screening test every year for chlamydia, many do not. And, according to a recent study, there are differences in screening patterns across age, race/ethnicity, and insurance status. Black young women were 2.7 times as likely and Hispanic women were 9.7 times as likely to be screened for the disease as their white counterparts, with the rates being 65%, 72% and 45%, respectively. The lead author of the study suggests that the providers’ perceptions of race and ethnicity (and the perceived differences of chlamydia risk) may play a role in screening for chlamydia and account for these unequal screening rates.
The study also reports differences in screening rates across insurance type. Women with public and public pending insurance had greater odds of chlamydia testing, compared with women with private insurance. The consequences of untreated chlamydia infection include pelvic inflammatory disease, infertility, and pregnancy complications; thus, something must be done to improve the screening rates for eligible women, regardless of race/ethnicity or socioeconomic status.
To read last week’s report of the study in the LA Times click here.