The findings and conclusions in these presentations have not been formally disseminated by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and should not be construed to represent any agency determination or policy.

Tuesday, May 9, 2006

Chlamydia Prevalence among University Freshmen and Implications for Improved STI Reduction Programs on Campuses

Adelbert James1, Tina Simpson2, and William Chamberlain1. (1) Gynecology and Obstetrics, Emory University School of Medicine, 100 Edgewood Ave NE, Room 802, Atlanta, GA, USA, (2) Dept. of Pediatrics, University of Alabama at Birmingham School of Medicine, Birmingham, AL, USA

In a 1995 national survey among college students, approximately 2/3 of students were currently sexually active and only 30% of students reported using a condom at their last sexual encounter. Seventy three percent of 15 million students in the US have access to a student health center; however, most student health centers only provide STI services to symptomatic students with chlamydia or gonorrhea. The advent of nucleic acid amplification test would facilitate more chlamydia screening among college students.

The purpose of this study was to evaluate chlamydia screening efforts among college students as part of a chlamydia awareness campaign.

In April 2004, the Region IV Infertility Prevention Project launched a chlamydia awareness campaign among 10 colleges in Alabama, Georgia and Mississippi. The selection of the colleges was based upon availability and the willingness of school officials to participate in the campaign. Students were screened for chlamydia and gonorrhea using urine specimen which were shipped to the state laboratory, results were submitted to the student health center and students were notified of their results.

A total of 789 students were screened for both chlamydia and gonorrhea. Overall, 57% were female students and 80.2% were African Americans. The mean age was 21.7 years. The chlamydia prevalence was 9.7%. Freshmen who were less than 20 years of age were 1.66 times more likely to be infected than students whose ages were between 20 and 24 years (1.016, 2.723).

Freshmen represent a high-risk group for chlamydia infections among college students. More effective messages are needed to reduce infections among this cohort.

Health departments need to foster collaboration with student health centers in providing STD education and reducing the prevalence of infections among students.