HealthDay News — The low prevalence of Chlamydia trachomatis (CT) and Neisseria gonorrhoeae (NG) among urban women aged 25 years and older may suggest that women are being overscreened, according to a study published in the American Journal of Obstetrics & Gynecology.

An estimated 2.8 million chlamydia infections and 820,000 gonorrhea infections occur annually in the United States, and the United States Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) recommends annual screening of all women aged 25 years and older and all women aged under 25 years who are increased risk for acquiring sexually transmitted infections (STIs).

To examine the prevalence of CT and NG among patients aged 25 years or older who are not at increased risk for STIs, Jaleesa A. Jackson, of the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine in Baltimore, and colleagues followed 658 patients who were tested or screened for CT/NG.

The prevalence of chlamydia was 1.7% and that of gonorrhea was 0.3%, reported the scientists. Symptomatic women were three times more likely to test positive for CT/NG after adjustment or age (adjusted odds ratio [AOR], 3.4), while STI-exposed women were 10 times more likely to test positive (AOR, 10.0).

There was no correlation between nonmonogamous relationship, abnormal examination results, and previous STI and CT/NG among asymptomatic non-STI-exposed women. Of the women, 21% of women experienced overscreening, and were all menopausal, had a hysterectomy, or were aged older than 40 years.

“CT/NG prevalence among older women was low, even in a community of high STI prevalence,” concluded the study authors.

“More than 20% of women could have avoided CT/NG evaluation without impacting the detection of positive results in our clinic cohort.”


  1. Jackson JA et al. American Journal of Obstetrics & Gynecology. 2014; doi: