Child Welfare League of America CWLA A

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nonprofit association of more than 1,100 public and private nonprofit agencies that help more than 3.5 million abused and neglected children and their families each year. The League is the nation's oldest and largest membership-based child welfare organization. Working with and through its member agencies, the Child Welfare League of America (CWLA) is committed to activities such as developing practice standards for high-quality services that protect children and youths and strengthen families and neighborhoods; providing consultation, conferences, publications, and other membership services; promoting public policies that contribute to the well-being of children; and making sure that all child welfare services are provided with respect for cultural and ethnic diversity. (For contact information, see Appendix I.)

chlamydia The most common sexually transmitted disease (STD) in the United States, infecting more than 4.5 million people each year. It is a serious but easily cured disease that is three times more common than gonorrhea, six times more common than genital herpes, and 30 times more common than syphilis. Between 1988 and 1992, the rate of reported cases of chlamydia more than doubled. sexually active teens have high rates of chlamydia infections.

The organism that causes chlamydia (Chlamydia trachomatis) is classified as a bacterium, even though it is similar to a virus. It is a parasite that—like a virus—cannot reproduce outside living cells, but it is enough like bacteria to be vulnerable to antibiotics.

Those at highest risk for contracting the disease are women under age 24, women who take birth control pills, men and women who have had more than one sex partner, and people with other STDs (especially gonorrhea).

In girls the bacteria centers on the cervix, where it causes an inflammation known as mucopurulent cervicitis, which can cause a yellow thick discharge, white blood cells, or bleeding from the cervix that a doctor can diagnosis during a pelvic exam.

Cause

A person becomes infected during sexual intercourse with a partner infected with C. trachomatis. A baby can contract the disease from an infected mother during birth; the disease can be transmitted as the baby passes through the infected birth canal, not during the previous nine months of the pregnancy.

The disease does not confer immunity; some studies suggest that if a child has ever had chlamy-dia, he or she is more likely to be reinfected sometime in the future.

Symptoms

Most girls experience no symptoms at all; but even if a girl has no symptoms, she can infect her sex partner. About 20 percent notice a heavy, yellow vaginal discharge. If chlamydia affects the urinary tract, there may be pain, burning, or a frequent urge to urinate.

Many boys have symptoms that are so mild they are ignored. The rest experience burning or pain during urination or notice a watery, milky, or thick discharge from the penis. This is caused by an inflamed urethra.

some studies suggest that a person can become infected from one to two weeks after exposure. The person remains infectious until the complete course of antibiotics has been taken. untreated infected people may be infectious for years.

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