Chlamydia is the topmost prevalent STIs (sexually transmitted infection) in the world. This bacterial infection can easily spread through anal, vaginal, or oral sex with an infected individual. Most people experience no symptoms, which has led many to spread the diseases without even knowing they have it. With the help of antibiotics, it’s incredibly easy to treat chlamydia. But, if people don’t receive any treatment, the infected risk developing serious health complications like swelling in the urethra, infertility, and various other problems. That’s why a chlamydia test is crucial. Here, we will talk about everything you need to know about a chlamydia test, what it is, how does it work, and what to expect.
What Is a Chlamydia Test?
A chlamydia test is a painless and quick method to monitor a person’s sexual health. All STI tests, including chlamydia tests, check if you are infected with a particular sexually transmitted infection even if you don’t experience any symptoms.
Diagnosis and screening of chlamydia are relatively straightforward. A test can include:
- A swab. Swabs are taken from both men and women. To test chlamydia in women, a swab of the discharge from the cervix is important. This sample will provide all the necessary results for antigen testing. Most women choose this method since it is done during a regular Pap test. Others, however, choose to use test kiting kits and take their own swabs that can be later analyzed. For men, the chlamydia test is a little different. A doctor will insert a very thin swab into the end of the penis to get a sample. In other cases, they might take a sample from the anus as well.
- A urine test. For both men and women, a sample of the urine provides adequate information on whether an individual carries any infection. For a chlamydia test, you might have to take a sample of your urine, seal it in a container, and take it to the laboratory for further analysis.
Why Should I Get Tested for Chlamydia?
More than 2.5 million people in the U.S. have chlamydia, and it’s most common in people between the ages of 15 to 24. Since the symptoms of this infection are not that obvious, it’s easy to overlook it. To prevent the spread of the infection and better-manage your sexual health, it’s best to get tested regularly.
People who should do annual chlamydia tests are:
- Sexually active individuals younger than 25 years
- Individuals who often change their sexual partners
- People who have a history of STIs
- Those who believe their partner might be infected
- People who believe they’ve used a contraceptive incorrectly
What Happens During a Chlamydia Test?
There are two ways to get tested for chlamydia, you can either go to a medical facility for a doctor to do the test, or you can get a test kiting kit. If you choose to get tested by a professional, you will first have to consult with your doctor and talk about your sexual history in depth.
The doctor will ask you personal questions to make sure what kind of chlamydia test is best suited for your needs, so they will ask questions like:
- Whether you have any body piercings or tattoos in specific areas
- How many sexual partners you’ve had
- The type of sexual practices you prefer
- What is your sexual orientation
- Do you experience any symptoms of chlamydia
- Have you used any drugs or needles
All the information you will share with your doctor is confidential, but it’s necessary to evaluate your sexual health. After the consultation, the doctor will take a swab from the inside of your anus, vagina, mouth, or penis. If you use a test kiting kit, you can take these swab samples at home and get them analyzed later.
Should I Prepare for a Chlamydia Test?
Yes, preparations are necessary for any STI tests, including chlamydia tests. For women, it’s important to avoid using vaginal creams or douches 24h prior to the test. Both women and men shouldn’t take any antibiotics during that timeline since they can interact with the results. If you believe you should take other special precautions because of any health conditions you might have, it’s best to consult with your doctor for any further instructions.
Does Chlamydia Testing Pose Any Risks?
No, chlamydia testing doesn’t pose a risk, nor can it affect your health in any way. This is a very simple process that doesn’t interact with your overall health. The swab or urine sample will not cause any unwanted side effects.
How Long Should I Wait for the Results?
Most test results take around a week to complete. Depending on how many chlamydia tests you’ve done or samples you’ve provided, it might take longer than that, but usually, it doesn’t take more than a week to get the results.
What If I Test Positive, Should I Be Worried?
Testing positive for chlamydia means you are carrying the infection. While it may seem scary, this infection can easily be treated. Your doctor will prescribe certain antibiotics and help you overcome your infection with proper medicine.
If you test negative, however, it doesn’t mean that you are immune to the infection. You can still get infected, so it’s crucial that you get tested every year and take precautions to avoid this infection.
Getting Tested Is Very Important
Testing for chlamydia helps you get a proper diagnosis and on-time treatment before this infection turns into a serious health problem. If you believe to be at risk of developing this infection due to your lifestyle or age, you should consult with your doctor to get tested or get your own chlamydia testing kit at home.