Saturday, July 02, 2005

Are Adolescent Girls With Chlamydia Infection Notifying Their Partners?

Interesting findings from a small study:

Teenagers represent a high-risk group for contraction and spread of sexually transmitted diseases (STDs), with Chlamydia being one of the most common. Numerous reasons for this exist, but the greatest is likely related to increased risky behavior in this age group. What represents an even larger problem in this group is the frequency of reinfection.

...

A critical component in the reduction and prevention of recurrence revolves around partner notification and treatment. Fear that partners will suspect them of being unfaithful, fear that partner will end the relationship, and low self-esteem are just a few of the many reasons why girls may not notify their partners.

By understanding the reasons and circumstances surrounding why teenagers may not notify partners, clinicians will be better prepared to offer more appropriate counseling for these patients.

...

Drs. Lim and Coupey examined this problem in an inner-city population of teenage girls diagnosed with Chlamydia . In this study, a self-administered survey was provided to 55 adolescent girls who were diagnosed with Chlamydia by DNA hybridization. ... Seventy-five percent of subjects reported notifying their partners of their infection. The most common reason for partner notification was "I did not want my sex partner to give the infection back to me" and "I wanted to let my sex partner know that he/she had given the infection to me". The researchers found an increased trend in notification in their subjects who were 18 years of age and older ( P = .07) and in those who had only 1 lifetime sex partner ( P = .08). Of the subjects who notified their partners, 22 (54%) reported their partners were treated; 16 didn't know whether their partner had been treated; and 3 knew their partners were not treated.


One thing I'd like you to pay particular attention to is the way this article is presented--its strengths, weaknesses, and important findings are highlighted. I think if lay publications were to adopt this style when discussing health studies [as opposed to the mandatory cutesy title, and the obligatory asking everybody, and their cat, for their opinion, belief, and vibe] readers would be in a better position to evaluate the significance of medical studies.

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