A recent publication issued, by a project funded by the NHS, reported that about 25% of students who attend university seems to contract some type of STI within the very first year of study. Chlamydia is currently considered one of the most common sexually transmitted infections among the general population, especially in younger adults. There has been an increase of 6.9% in the prevalence of Chlamydia between 2016 and 2017. In 2017 along, over 1.7 million cases of this infection were noted among the American population.
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What Is Chlamydia?
Before we consider why testing for this infection is important, let’s first take a closer look at what exactly Chlamydia is. First of all, Chlamydia is an STD. What this means is that this disease is obtained by having unprotected sexual intercourse with someone who has already been infected with the condition. This is a type of bacterium species that enter the human body and causes infection.
It is important to note that Chlamydia can be spread through different forms of sexual activities. This includes vaginal sex, anal sex, and oral sex. The infection does not, however, spread through kissing, coughing, sneezing, or hugging.
More: Chlamydia Facts
Why Is It Important To Get Tested?
One of the most important reasons why people are advised to get tested for Chlamydia is due to the fact that the disease often does not cause any obvious symptoms. Even though the infection might not cause any symptoms that make it obvious for a person that they might have caught this particular STI, there are certain complications that can develop when the condition is not treated at an earlier stage.
Failure to get tested for the condition and obtain treatment for the disease can lead to complications such as the following:
- Pelvic inflammatory disease, which can cause issues with the fallopian tubes, as well as the womb
- Salpingitis can occur
- Catching Chlamydia while pregnant can lead to complications with the unborn baby
- Testicle inflammation, which can lead to additional complications, including infertility
There is also a higher risk of being infected with HIV when a person has caught Chlamydia and fails to treat the condition.
Getting Tested For Chlamydia
Testing for Chlamydia is readily available and is also a relatively simple process. There are two types of tests that are generally advised for those who would like to get tested. One of the most popular tests that are used for determining if a particular person might have Chlamydia is through a urine sample.
A urine sample that is provided by the patient will be analyzed in a laboratory. The scientists will determine if there are signs of the Chlamydia infection in the urine sample of the patient.
If the patient is female, then a swab may also be taken. The swab will be taken from the woman’s cervix. Tests are performed to determine if antigens or cultures related to chlamydia is present.
In some cases, a slim swab may be used in male patients. This is when a swab is inserted into the tip of the penis in order to get a sample of the region within the urethra. This swab can then also be tested for the presence of chlamydia.
Symptoms Of Chlamydia
One of the biggest issues with Chlamydia is the fact that the majority of people who is infected will not experience initial symptoms. This is why testing is critical, as when symptoms develop, it may be a sign of complications caused by the infection. One report claims that an estimated 90% of female patients will not experience symptoms of the STI, and among men, about 70% may be unaware due to a lack of symptoms.
There are, however, some people who may experience symptoms when they are infected with the bacteria that causes Chlamydia.
Symptoms that men may experience include:
- Burning when urinating
- There may be a green or yellow discharge from the patient’s penis
- The testicles might be painful
- There might be a pain in the patient’s lower abdomen
Among women, the following symptoms may occur:
- Lower abdominal pain
- Cervicitis, which is when the cervix becomes inflamed
- A discharge from the vagina
- Dyspareunia, which is when there is pain during sexual intercourse
- Urination may cause a burning sensation
Some women may also find that they bleed while they are not on their period.
More: Chlamydia Symptoms
Treatment Options For Chlamydia
Chlamydia is an infection that is caused by a bacterium. Since the infection is caused by this type of microorganism, the typical treatment for Chlamydia would be a course of antibiotics.
There are two types of antibiotics that may be used to treat Chlamydia. These include:
- Azithromycin, which is given in a single dose. The dose will be high.
- Doxycycline, which is taken two times each day. The patient will have to continue taking this medication for a period of one week in the majority of cases.
While these are the most common antibiotics that are prescribed to a patient to treat Chlamydia, it is important to note that some physicians may prefer to provide the individual with a different type of antibiotic. It is important for the patient to follow the dosage instructions provided to them and understand that the infection may take as long as two weeks to clear up.
More: Chlamydia Treatment
While Chlamydia can be treated effectively, failure to get tested and detect the presence of this STI early on can lead to long-term complications. One of the most important complications to be noted is infertility. Testing for Chlamydia can be done in various ways and is available at a number of facilities, including clinics. Individuals who are sexually active are advised to get tested for this infection frequently to assure early detection and appropriate treatment can be implemented in a timely manner.