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A. The Most Common Bacterial Infection

Narrator: This is Science Today. Chlamydia is the most common bacterial infection in the United States and occurs most frequently among fifteen and nineteen year old girls. Mary Shafer, an adolescent health specialist at the University of California, San Francisco, says because this sexually transmitted disease often has no symptoms, those infected may not know it.

Shafer: I think chlamydia being the most common bug, it also is the most serious bug, bacterial infection girls get. It can cause infertility and ectopic pregnancies. It's totally preventable. It's preventable by using condoms and not getting the infection to start with and it's preventable if we get it early and we treat it. It's a hundred percent treatable.

Narrator: Shafer says a new screening test is now available for chlamydia and gonorrhea - and since it's a simple urine test and not a pelvic exam, it may reach more teens.

Shafer: The urine test probably picks well above ninety or ninety-five percent of the infections that are there, which is as good as any test practically available.

Narrator: For Science Today, I'm Larissa Branin.