Hawaii ranks No. 1 for testing chlamydia


POSTED: Sunday, April 19, 2009

Hawaii had the highest screening rate in the nation in 2007 for the sexually transmitted disease chlamydia, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports.

Peter Whiticar, chief of the state Health Department's STD/AIDS Prevention Branch, said Hawaii's 57.8 percent screening rate for women age 15 to 25 “;is a real mark of achievement”; for the DOH and all private and public health care providers and health plans collaborating to reduce the chlamydia rate.

The last Legislature provided additional money for screening because Hawaii has ranked in the top 10 states for chlamydia cases, placing sixth last year, Whiticar said. Chlamydia is the most reported communicable disease in Hawaii and the country, he said.

CDC highlighted Hawaii's screening rate because of the state's collaborative effort, Whiticar said.

However, Whiticar pointed out, about 43 percent of young women were not screened, indicating more work must be done to find women who are positive and need access to treatment. Partners also must be tested and treated to prevent reinfection, he said.

Men also are affected by chlamydia, although it is regarded as a women's disease, Whiticar said.

“;The most concerning thing about chlamydia for a large percentage of women, and also for men, is it is asymptomatic,”; he said.

He stressed the importance of people protecting themselves, either through sexual abstinence or through use of condoms, and testing for all sexually active women under age 26.