Sexually transmitted infections (STI’s) are a consequence of having unprotected sex and can seriously affect our health regardless of age. Did you know that last year Planned Parenthood Centers in the tri-counties diagnosed 405 positive cases of Chlamydia?

Chlamydia is now the most common STI in the nation. It is often referred to as the \”silent\” STI because almost three out of four infected women and nearly half of infected men do not have symptoms. It is a serious health threat that left untreated may cause pelvic inflammatory disease in women and sterility in men.

Between 20 and 50 percent of children born to women with Chlamydia will be infected. Every year more than 180,000 babies are born with eye infections or pneumonia. Chlamydia is the leading cause of neonatal conjunctivitis — an eye infection that can cause blindness if untreated. Symptoms usually begin within four weeks of birth.

The people most likely to get Chlamydia are:

• Those who have a number of different sex partners

• Those whose sex partners have a number of different sex partners

• Those who don’t use condoms

• Those with a history of other sexually transmitted infections

• Sexually abused children

• Young adults between 18 and 25

The good news is that Chlamydia, which is caused by bacteria, can easily be cured with antibiotics. Both partners must be treated before having sex again to avoid re-infection. It is essential that anyone who is sexually active include Chlamydia in their STI testing at their annual health exam. Remember that using a condom can significantly reduce the risk of getting any STI.

Chlamydia testing is available at a Planned Parenthood Center in your neighborhood. For more information about this and other reproductive health issues call your local Planned Parenthood Center today, or visit us on the web at www.ppsbvslo.org.

Patricia Fajardo is vice president of clinical services for Planned Parenthood of Santa Barbara, Ventura & San Luis Obispo Counties, Inc.

Between July and December, 2006, Planned Parenthood’s Ventura clinic reported 94 positive tests for Chlamydia. That represents 6.8 percent of all tests performed at the clinic. In Thousand Oaks, 19 tests, or 3.4 percent, came back positive.

For more information or to get tested for Chlamydia and other STI’s, contact Planned Parenthood or visit one of their two Ventura County locations:

Ventura
5400 Ralston St.,
Ventura, CA 93003
Phone: 658-3232

Thousand Oaks
166 N. Moorpark Road, #104
Thousand Oaks, CA 91360
Phone: 777-3841
[b]on the web[b]
www.ppsbvslo.org