An Overview of Chlamydia
Chlamydia is caused by the bacterium Chlamydia trachomatis and is the most commonly reported bacterial STD infection among sexually active people. The CDC estimates that there are just over 2.8 million chlamydia cases reported each year. Chlamydia is easily spread because it is often asymptomatic (or shows no signs or symptoms). Although Chlamydia is cured with simple antibiotics, left untreated, it can cause a number of complications for both men and women. Although using condoms can greatly reduce transmission of the disease, the only way to prevent Chlamydia 100% of the time is through abstinence (no sexual contact).
Untreated chlamydia can lead to pelvic pelvic inflammatory disease in females and can rarely lead to infertility in men.
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Chlamydia In The US Population
Chlamydia cases in the US make up roughly 450 infections per every 100,000 individuals. Chlamydia has been on a steady rise in the US and today it ranks as the most prevalent disease, infecting females at a higher rate than males. The CDC reports chlamydia cases were highest amongst black men and women when divided by ethnicity and teens when divided by age.
How Chlamydia Spreads
Chlamydia is transmitted through oral, vaginal or anal sex. The disease does not require ejaculation to spread. Using condoms significantly reduces your risk of contracting chlamydia but if you have any concerns both you and your partner(s) should get tested.
Chlamydia’s primary mechanism for infection is by spreading through infected secretions and fluids (vaginal, semen, pre semen) into sensitive mucous membranes like the vagina, anus, mouth, eyes and penis.
Chlamydia infections can be passed through shared sex toys which is why proper sex toy sanitation steps are always necessary for your sexual well being.
Am I At Risk For Chlamydia?
Any sexually active person is at risk for chlamydia since it is a highly common and contagious sexually transmitted disease in the population. If you engage in unprotected anal, vaginal or oral sex, you are at risk for contracting chlamydia. Some individuals have a higher risk of coming in contact with Chlamydia such as sexually active teenagers as well as men who have sex with other men.
Generally speaking, if you are sexually active (particularly female) with multiple partners, you should at a bare minimum get tested once a year but more specifically after every time you have unprotected sex with a new partner. If you are not in monogamous sexual relationships, proper condom usage is necessary to prevent the spread of chlamydia.
Chlamydia And Pregnancy
Women who are pregnant should pay special concern to avoiding contact with sexually transmitted infections, especially Chlamydia. An untreated chlamydia infection in a pregnant woman presents a multitude of threats to both herself and the baby such as causing a premature birth, or causing eye and ear infections in the unborn child. Standard prenatal doctor’s visits will include a STD screening to check for the presence of chlamydia and other infections.
Can Chlamydia Be Cured?
Yes, chlamydia can be cured through a dosage of Over The Counter (OTC) antibiotics that your doctor or healthcare professional will be able to prescribe for you. Ensuring that you follow the dosage instructions will allow your body to quickly rid itself of the infection. To learn more about chlamydia treatment, click here.
How Is Chlamydia Diagnosed?
Chlamydia can be diagnosed through a variety of methods, primarily getting a chlamydia test with a trusted STD testing center and it also depends on your healthcare provider and where you will get the test done. Some physicians may require a swab of the cervix (females) or from the urethra (males). The most common chlamydia test is called the NAAT or NAT (Nucleic Acid Amplification Test).
The only way to 100% prevent yourself from getting a chlamydia infection is by abstaining from all sexual activity (oral, vaginal, anal). Proper usage of condoms will greatly help to reduce the risk of chlamydia transmission but it does not completely mitigate the risk entirely as the infection can still pass through sensitive skin surrounding the genitals.
The History Of Chlamydia
Chlamydia trachomatis was originally discovered in Berlin, Germany by scientist Stanislaus von Prowazek in 1907. The name derives from chlamys and trachomatis (Greek) which translate to ‘cloaked’ and ‘rough’. Although primarily known for infecting humans, the disease can also be found in other mammals such as cats, dogs and some birds.