Rising reported rates of chlamydia among young women in Canada: What do they tell us about trends in the actual prevalence of the infection?

McKay, Alexander; Barrett, Michael
March 2008
Canadian Journal of Human Sexuality;2008, Vol. 17 Issue 1/2, p61
Academic Journal
This article explores possible explanations for the rise in reported chlamydia rates among young women in Canada between 1997 and 2004 and considers whether rising rates can be used to infer a parallel increase in the actual prevalence of the infection. The transition to more sensitive testing methods is among the factors that could have contributed to the rise in reported rates. In contrast to Canada, the United States (US) monitors trends in the prevalence of chlamydia among young women as well as reported rates. The US data indicate that while reported rates of chlamydia among young women rose during the same time period, prevalence levels, when adjusted for increased use of more sensitive testing methods, remained relatively stable. While available data are insufficient to draw definitive conclusions about prevalence trends in Canada, existing studies do point to unacceptably high prevalence levels. The establishment of a sentinel chlamydia surveillance system would provide a mechanism to track prevalence trends and allocate resources for chlamydia prevention and control.


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