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Sex Transm Dis. 1995 Nov-Dec;22(6):329-34.

Chlamydia trachomatis infection among Hispanic women in the California-Mexico border area, 1993: establishing screening criteria in a primary care setting.

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Division of STD/HIV Prevention, National Center for Prevention Services, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, GA 30333, USA.



Chlamydia prevalence and transmission patterns in California-Mexico border communities are unknown, and selective screening strategies for Hispanic populations have not been evaluated.


To determine chlamydia prevalence among Hispanic women in the California-Mexico border area and established screening criteria.


This was a cross-sectional prevalence survey of family planning/prenatal Hispanic clients (n = 2378) in San Diego and Imperial Counties, California, and Tijuana, Mexico.


Overall, chlamydia prevalence was 3.2% (3.3% in California; 2.1% in Mexico). Women born in Mexico or those who visited Mexico for at least 1 week in the recent past had a prevalence rate similar to women without those characteristics. Multivariate analysis showed that young age (less than 25 years old), unmarried status, or having clinical signs of a chlamydia syndrome (primarily cervicitis) or vaginosis independently predicted chlamydia infection. Applying minimum screening criteria recommended by the Centers for Disease Control would require screening less than half of the clients. However, only 69% of infections would be identified. Using survey-based criteria (less than 25 years old, unmarried, and clinical signs of a chlamydia syndrome) would require screening 64% of clients, but would identify 92% of those infected.


Chlamydia prevalence among Hispanic women seeking reproductive healthcare was similar (< 5%) on both sides of the California-Mexico border. Among Hispanic women, using easily obtained demographic data (age and marital status) and clinical signs (primarily cervicitis), an effective selective screening strategy can be implemented.


During January 1-October 15, 1993, three clinics in Imperial County, California, located east of the coastal mountain range which borders Baja California; a large community health center in San Diego County, California; and a public health/family planning clinic in Tijuana in Baja California, Mexico, successfully screened 2378 Hispanic women for Chlamydia trachomatis. The overall chlamydia prevalence was 3.2% (2.1% in Tijuana; 3.3% in California). Chlamydia was more common among the prenatal clients than family planning clients (4.7% vs. 2.6%; p 0.02). Adolescents had the highest chlamydia infection rate (7.5%). Women born in Mexico or those who visited Mexico for at least one week during the last three months had a similar chlamydia prevalence rate as those born in the US or those who had not visited Mexico recently. The multivariate analysis revealed that significant independent predictors of chlamydia infection included young age (25 years) (prevalence ratio [PR] = 4.5 for 20 years and 2.5 for 20-24 years), unmarried status (PR = 2), high risk sex behavior (PR = 1.1), exposure to a sexually transmitted disease (PR = 2.6), discharge/bleeding (PR = 1.4), vaginosis (PR = 3.6), and cervicitis (i.e., chlamydia syndrome) (PR = 6). If the clinics had applied the minimum screening criteria recommended by the US Centers for Disease Control, less than 50% of the clients would have been screened. Yet it would have identified only 69% of chlamydia infections. If clinics would apply the criteria identified in this survey, they would need to screen 64% of their clients, which would identify 92% of clients infected with chlamydia. These findings indicate that, in the California-Mexico border region, chlamydia prevalence among Hispanic women seeking reproductive health care was comparable. They also show that clinics can implement an effective selective screening strategy.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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