The reasons for more thorough chlamydia screening are 2-fold. A study, reported in the Annals of Internal Medicine (October 5, 2004), found that more comprehensive screening would likely reduce the frequency of the disease and be cost-effective.
In the study, the researchers found that screening women under the age of 30, and suggesting that any woman who had chlamydia be tested every 6 months rather than only once after diagnosis, would raise health care costs by $107 per woman but would prove cost-effective down the line. "When you take into account the positive effects of screeningnot only for the women themselves, but also the benefits from avoiding transmission of the disease to babies or to menscreening becomes cost-saving," said Delphine Hu, MD, PhD, study author.
Dr. Hu explained that the reason for testing relatively older women for the disease reflects current trends: women are marrying later in life and thus have a longer period of sex partners, which increases their risk for chlamydia. Also, screening women every 6 months after they have had chlamydia is wise because those who have had it are 2 times as likely to have a recurrence, compared with those who have never had the disease.