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Women's Reproductive Health Indicators Drop in State

December 13, 2010

NEW HAVEN, Conn. - The latest state-by-state report card on women's health shows some disturbing trends in Connecticut in several indicators, including reproductive health.

For one, as noted by Susan Yolen, vice president of New Haven-based Planned Parenthood of Southern New England, the number of women in the state getting Pap smears to screen for cervical cancer has dropped from 88 percent to 81 percent over the past three years.

"I just wonder whether or not the decrease has something to do with the hardening of the economic crisis in Connecticut, the increase of uninsured folks, and the fact that this is one service that people aren't able to afford."

The survey, done by the National Women's Law Center and Oregon Health and Science University, also notes a rise in chlamydia, which can lead to infertility if not treated.

Yolen notes that chlamydia is the most common sexually-transmitted disease (STD), and calls it "rampant" among Connecticut teens and young adult women.

"It's easily treated with antibiotics, but it also is easily overlooked because it doesn't have as painful symptoms as some other kinds of conditions, and so people oftentimes go untreated or don't realize they have chlamydia."

The study also noted an increase in binge drinking among women. That can lead to sexual assaults, unprotected sex and an increase in STDs. The researchers also suggested there might be a link to the economic crisis, leading to more stress and depression that could trigger binge drinking.

Survey results for Connecticut are at hrc.nwlc.org

Melinda Tuhus, Public News Service - CT