9% of Female Army Recruits Test Positive for Chlamydia


Almost one in 10 female U.S. Army recruits are infected with chlamydia, a sexually transmitted disease that can lead to infertility and tubal pregnancies, scientists report today in the New England Journal of Medicine. Researchers from the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine tested urine samples from 13,204 recruits at Ft. Jackson, S.C. They found that 9.2% of the recruits--women between the ages of 17 and 25--tested positive for chlamydia. But among 17-year-olds, the percentage jumped to 12.2%.

In women from five southern states--South Carolina, Georgia, Alabama, Louisiana and Mississippi--the rate for chlamydia was higher than 15%. Among recruits from states such as Washington, Oregon and Idaho, which have made aggressive efforts to control the disease, the rate of infection dropped to less than 5%. The medical team found that the risk of having the disease was highest among sexually active young recruits and African American women.

Compiled by Times medical writer Thomas H. Maugh II