Japanese high school students may have one of the highest rates of chlamydia among sexually active groups in developed countries, according to the initial findings of an ongoing Japanese study.
The study, which has so far surveyed 3,191 high schoolers ages 15 to 18 from the northern island of Hokkaido, found that 11.4 percent were infected with the venereal disease. Infection rates were higher among girls than boys, said Dr. Hirohisa Imai, the lead researcher and an associate professor at Ashikawa Medical College in Ashikawa, Japan. Nearly 14 percent of girls tested positive, compared with 7.3 percent of boys, he said in an e-mail.
If left untreated, chlamydia—which often displays few, if any, symptoms—can cause pelvic infections, infertility, and leave teenagers vulnerable to more serious infections such as HIV.
Dr. Imai, who began the study in 2003 and plans to survey more than 10,000 students by the end of this year, presented his initial findings to the Japanese Society for Sexually Transmitted Diseases last month.
Coverage of cultural understanding and international issues in education is supported in part by the Atlantic Philanthropies.
A version of this article appeared in the January 19, 2005 edition of Education Week