Chlamydia is one of the many sexually transmitted diseases that exist, and it is quite prevalent among adults around the world. And the high numbers is not inclusive of those who are undiagnosed, which may even be larger. Having undiagnosed Chlamydia invariably means that the patient has no idea that they have this disease, which is in itself is dangerous. An untreated Chlamydia infection in the body of a woman can have devastating effects, which include infertility, ectopic pregnancy, pneumonia, and in some cases, blindness if the patient is dealing with an eye infection. However, despite the imminent dangers that come with having Chlamydia infection, scientists have not stopped working on coming up with a vaccine.
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First, lets’s look at the numbers. The below fact sheet is taken from WHO (World Health Organization), maybe the most authoritative voice on the topic. Link to original … and be aware the numbers are staggering …
- More than 1 million sexually transmitted infections (STIs) are acquired every day worldwide (1, 2).
- Each year, there are an estimated 376 million new infections with 1 of 4 STIs: chlamydia, gonorrhoea, syphilis and trichomoniasis (1, 2).
- More than 500 million people are estimated to have genital infection with herpes simplex virus (HSV) (3).
- More than 290 million women have a human papillomavirus (HPV) infection (4).
- The majority of STIs have no symptoms or only mild symptoms that may not be recognized as an STI.
- STIs such as HSV type 2 and syphilis can increase the risk of HIV acquisition.
- 988 000 pregnant women were infected with syphilis in 2016, resulting in over 350 000 adverse birth outcomes including 200 000 stillbirths and newborn deaths (5).
- In some cases, STIs can have serious reproductive health consequences beyond the immediate impact of the infection itself (e.g., infertility or mother-to-child transmission)
- The Gonococcal Antimicrobial Resistance Surveillance Programme has shown high rates of quinolone resistance, increasing azithromycin resistance and emerging resistance to extended-spectrum cephalosporins. Drug resistance, especially for gonorrhoea, is a major threat to reducing the impact of STIs worldwide.
Yeah… It’s about time to get tested for STD
There is the possibility of a new and promising vaccine sometime soon.
In 2015, in the United States of America, a promising vaccine for Chlamydia was developed and tested on mice. According to the journal vaccine, the cure was so efficient that it is being considered for use against other sexually transmitted diseases such as genital herpes and HIV. Getting to this point, however, was not a smooth ride as the first attempt to create a Chlamydia vaccine in the 60s backfired when they were tested on humans, and they showed signs of being more susceptible to the disease than being immune to it.
Of course, this is not to say that preventing the disease is not important. The proven preventive measures which are safe sex and regular screening will definitely be of more priority over any vaccine at the moment.
Researchers have been working on developing a functioning vaccine for more than fifty years without any significant progress. And if a preventive measure against the spread of Chlamydia gets developed, it will be able to stop underlying and undetected infections because of the asymptomatic nature of Chlamydia.
Not everyone who has this disease shows the common symptoms which are vaginal discharge, sore genitals, pain while urinating, etc. This is due to its nature and as harmless as the disease may seem, if left untreated, it is capable of causing far more devastating complications in pregnant women and even reproductive issues such as infertility.
The most recommended and major preventive measures against Chlamydia remain practicing safe sex and going for checkups regularly. Getting a vaccine may take some time to finalize, but it remains a significant victory in the fight against sexually transmitted diseases.
Read More: Chlamydia Facts