People aged 15 to 29 should get annual testing for chlamydia, gonorrhea: experts

TORONTO — If you’re under 30 and sexually active, it’s time to start getting tested for some sexually transmitted infections (STIs) on an annual basis, according to new guidelines released by the Canadian Task Force on Preventive Health Care.

The task force released new guidelines on chlamydia and gonorrhea testing in the Canadian Medical Association Journal on Monday.

The task force recommends doctor- or self-administered testing done annually for people aged 15 to 29, even if they are outside the high-risk population. The recommendation suggests physicians offer the testing when opportunities arise so that patients do not have to ask or schedule seperate appointments.

Chlamydia and gonorrhea are the most commonly reported STIs in Canada, and infection rates have been increasing since 2000. Reports of chlamydia and gonorrhea are highest among those aged 15 to 29, and experts believe those numbers are underreported, according to the report.

Reported rates of chlamydia in people aged 15 to 29 are 1.0 to 1.9 per cent of the population, but experts believe with unreported cases it is closer to 5 to 7 per cent.

The guideline hopes to catch cases among populations who would not be considered high risk for the STIs.

The new guidelines aim to catch asymptomatic cases of the STIs that are going untreated. The treatment for both chlamydia and gonorrhea is antibiotics.

Untreated chlamydia can result in cervicitis, inflammatory pelvic disease and even infertility in women. Women are at risk of pelvic inflammatory disease with untreated gonorrhea, as well. In men, chlamydia and gonorrhea left untreated can result in epididymitis, inflammation in the tube at the back of the testicles that carries and stores sperm.

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