Chlamydia is a common sexually transmitted disease/infection (STD/STI) that can go unnoticed without suitable testing.
How is it transmitted?
Through contaminated body fluid during sexual intercourse, whether this is oral, vaginal or anal sex. Condoms help reduce the risk but are not 100% effective at stopping STDs.
What are the symptoms?
This is the trump card for Chlamydia as it often doesn’t have any symptoms and can go unnoticed for long periods of time. On the occasion that symptoms do appear, men may experience mild discomfort passing urine or a penile discharge while women may experience pelvic pain akin to pelvic inflammatory disease.
Much like Gonorrhoea, screening is the only way to be sure.
How can I screen?
For men the screening will involve a urine sample, throat or anal swabs depending on the region at risk (chlamydia only spreads through direct contact).
Women will require swabs from the vagina, throat or anus, again depending on region at risk.
Since there are no symptoms can I ignore it?
No, you should not ignore chlamydia because the longer it stays in your body the greater then chance it could cause further, irreversible damage. Men may experience prostatitis (prostate gland swelling) or testicular swelling, which are often painful and debilitating. It can often still be cured but the process may be long and arduous.
Women will experience pelvic inflammatory disease, which is painful and can lead to internal scarring which is a leading cause of infertility.
Can it be cured?
Yes, chlamydia is usually very easy to cure requiring a course of antibiotics.
How do I know if I am clear?
We would recommend testing again at about 4 weeks after completing the antibiotics to be sure. If the subsequent test is negative then you are all clear. But remember the treatment for the current infection of chlamydia does not protect you from reinfection later on.
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