A new study published in the International Journal of Epidemiology found that an infection called Mycoplasma genitalium (MG), which was first found more than 30 years ago, is transferred through sexual contact and rarely causes symptoms, according to the Daily Mail. As of now, the infection affects approximately 1 percent of the British population between the ages of 16 and 44.
Despite the fact that the long-term effects of MG are still not known, research has shown that it can cause pelvic inflammatory disease, inflammation of the urethra and/or cervix and could potentially lead to infertility in females.
"This study provides insights for the testing and control of MG infection, which need to be considered as part of the emerging evidence base," the researchers wrote. "Other study designs are better placed to look at natural history of infection with M. genitalium and its sequelae."
The study found that from the pool of those who had MG, 94 percent of males and 65 percent of females said they had no symptoms within the past month, according to Metro. Furthermore, those who had less than four sexual partners within the past year were at much less of a risk than those that had more than four.
The lack of symptoms exhibited in many of the study's participants has led many to worry that MG might be being transmitted unknowingly between sexual partners, according to The Guardian,
"These findings suggest that only testing those who are currently symptomatic would miss the majority of infections," said Pam Sonnenberg, lead author of the paper. "However, further research is needed to understand the clinical implications of infection and possible longer term complications."