A communicable disease is a bacteria or virus that can is transferred from person to person, or from animals or the physical environment to individuals by a variety of ways. For example air and water, to contaminated articles or fomites, insect and animal bites (Reigelman, p. 210, 2011). The spreading of a communicable disease is easily transferred and can range from a common cold to anthrax making the disease contagious. I will be discussing the communicable disease chlamydia and how the infection affects individuals. Chlamydia is a curable and a preventable disease, and with awareness and prevention individuals can protect themselves from contacting the contagious disease.
According to Center for Disease Control (2011), chlamydia is a sexually transmitted diseases (STD). Chlamydia trachomatis, can damage a woman’s reproductive organs if left untreated. Symptoms of chlamydia are usually mild, left untreated can cause serious complications. This silent disease can cause damage that is irreversible, including infertility, before a woman recognizes a problem and men infected with chlamydia experience a discharge from the penis. The bacterial infection chlamydia is transferred through sexual contact from one person to another. With more than 50 million cases reported worldwide and 3 million cases in the United States, chlamydia is the most common STD in the United States (Chlamydia – CDC Fact Sheet).
In 2009 a total of 1,244,180 cases were reported with thousands more undetected. The chlamydia infection is prevalent among sexually active young adolescents, between the ages of 14-24 years. It is three time higher than individuals among the age 25-39 years (National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey 1999–2008 [NHANES], unpublished data, 2011) (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 2011). Data shows that 10%–15% of untreated chlamydial infections result in diagnosed pelvic inflammatory disease (PID).
Causing a spectrum of disorders, inflammations of the uterus, fallopian tubes, ovaries, or adjacent peritoneum should PID occur 10%-15% of cases could lead to infertility. Chlamydia prevalence among sexually active young people by age group in the United States between the years of 1999 and 2008 is at 50% between the ages of 14-19, 30% between the ages of 20-24, 18% between the ages of 25-29, 8% between the ages of 30-34, and 10% between the ages of 35-39 years. Chlamydia is affecting the younger population at a greater rate and should take priority in awareness about the disease (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 2011, para4. ).
Poverty stricken areas lack awareness of sexually transmitted diseases causing for individuals to go untreated and spread the disease. Individuals with limited health care access in these areas are less likely to go to a doctor or a clinic to get tested. People living within areas suffering from economic hardships often have social issues. Lack of education, including morals and values affects how young people view the consequences of unprotected sex. In wealthy areas young people have access to health care but feel shame and refuse to seek medical attention for fear of embarrassment of the diagnosis.
Methods of Treatment and Prevention
According to, Center for Disease Control (2011), chlamydia can be treated and cured with antibiotics. A single dose of azithromycin or a week of doxycycline (twice daily) are the most commonly used treatments. All sex partners should be tested and treated, any persons with a diagnosis of chlamydia should avoid any sexual activity for seven days after the antibiotics are completed, this will assist in the prevention of spreading the disease. Individuals diagnosed with chlamydia should be retested every three month after treatment, regardless if their partner has been treated. Having safe protected sex will assist in spreading of diseases, but abstinence is the best protection and guarantees not contracting any disease (Chlamydia – CDC Fact Sheet).
Prevention of STD’s should include an educational approach. It can consist of dialogue among counselors, teachers, friends, and family. STD’s re preventable and making informed decisions will help lower the risk of making life-changing behaviors. Students are afraid to attend their doctors for screening or testing for fear their parents will discover their children are sexually active. With educating students on HIPPA and the compliances doctors must adhere to, will increase young people to get screened and treated for chlamydia or additional diagnosed STD’s, therefore reducing the chances of life altering health issues. In addition to education and counseling, critical components of population-based prevention and control include: (1) screening high-risk populations for prevalent STDs; (2) treating individuals with diagnosed and probable infections; and (3) reporting STD cases to the Health Department(Bankowski & Bankowski, 2009).
Resources available to the public to assist with treatment and care depend on the location of patients. Access to facilities in rural communities is limited to the individuals with provided transportation. Mobile health care is increasing in areas of lacking facilities allowing individuals to acquire testing and treatment. The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010 expands insurance access for young adults and eliminates chlamydia screening copayments for young females who sign up for new insurance plans (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 2011, par.5). The Department of Health and Human Services and Plan Parenthood is a couple of service that will provide resource for anyone seeking healthcare service in the community.
My recommendation regarding chlamydia is for information to become available in places regardless of economic status. With increasing reality T.V. shows, commercials should be aired frequently addressing STD’s. Radio stations, including Pandora and I-heart radio should be required to promote awareness and prevention including resources for health care regarding STD’s. Local health services should prepare awareness booths at local middle and high school to educate and answer any questions about diseases. Public outreach about chlamydia is important to reducing the burden of the disease chlamydia. The infection is easily preventable and curable, with proper treatment.
Understanding the disease is key to having a healthy lifestyle, from preventable measures and continued health screening will aid in diagnosing and treating the disease early in incubation period. Undetected chlamydia has serious health concerns for both men and woman. The state legislators can require insures to make screening affordable and raise awareness in all communities. In the low income communities the legislators should promote funding for screening and treatment.
In conclusion chlamydia is a communicable disease contagious via bodily fluids. The disease is prevalent in young adults and with awareness in areas with high rates of the disease, I believe that with the help of government programs such a planned parenthood and free clinics, people will have access and obtain screening, testing, and treatment. Raising awareness will encourage individuals to attend health services to test for chlamydia and other STD’s and educate themselves on how to prevent a reoccurrence and how important is to continue treatment and follow ups after treatment every three months. People will gain confidence and help others understand how serious it is to make informed decisions about their health and their partners. Information on safe sex and understanding the consequences and harsh realities of all STD’s will benefit society to decrease death rates, infant mortality linking to STD’s, and a less sexually infected America.
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