STD Screening at Advanced Pediatrics
Sexually transmitted diseases include a diverse range of infections, some more dangerous than others. The ability to detect some of these infections has improved dramatically over the last few years.
Two of these infections, in particular, are very common, can cause a lifetime of difficulty, and are easy to detect with a simple urine test.
The two infections are chlamydia and gonorrhea. Both infections tend to infect the duct work of the reproductive system. They tend to cause no symptoms, but if left untreated, are responsible for at least 10% of all infertility in the
. United States
To detect these infections, all that is required is a sample of urine sent to the lab, no blood test is required, no pelvic exam, no swab of the urethra. This is because we can detect the DNA of the germ in the urine.
A recent article in the leading journal, Pediatrics (http://tinyurl.com/ycaw7tn) finds that nearly one in 20 adolescents ages 14-18 are infected with chlamydia or gonorrhea.
Given a one in 20 chance of a problem that can cause a lifetime of infertility, and a painless test to find and treat such infections in good time, and that the vast majority of those sexually active deny being so, and of those infected have no symptoms, the case for screening is compelling.
As a result, Advanced Pediatrics is now recommending that all adolescents be screened at least twice for chlamydia and gonorrhea by a single urine sample at ages 15 and 17.
If positive, of course, the adolescent will be informed, counseled, and treated. Further testing for other STD’s will be pursued as well. If the tests are negative, an opportunity for important counseling will still be opened, but no further evaluation will be indicated.
STD’s can be an uncomfortable subject, clearly they involve the issue of sexuality. But beyond sexuality, STD’s are basically an infection. Because of the link to sexual activity, STD’s are the least well-diagnosed and treated infections people get. It is really for this reason that they continue to lead to 10% of all infertility, and for this reason we propose the neutral stance of screening everyone. It really is the best way to protect your children from what could be a very serious infection.
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