Men and Women who are sexually active should be screened for STDs once a year, or visit a physician any time they notice changes or feel something isn't right.
- What is it?
Chlamydia is one of the most common STDs. It is caused by the bacterium Chlamydia trachomatis.
- How is it transmitted?
Chlamydia can be contracted through vaginal, oral or anal sex. It can also be passed from mother to her baby during child birth.
- What are the symptoms?
It is known as the "silent disease" because symptoms are not always present — if left untreated, Chlamydia can cause future complications.
Those who do have symptoms will usually notice them 1— 3 weeks after exposure.
Women who have symptoms may have: abnormal vaginal discharge, burning when urinating, pain in the lower abdomen, pain during intercourse, pain in the lower back, nausea, fever, bleeding between periods.
Men with symptoms may have: discharge from and/or itching or burning around the opening of the penis, burning when urinating, swelling in the testicles.
- How is it diagnosed and treated?
Some tests can be done with urine; others require a sample from the vagina or penis. Chlamydia is easily treated with antibiotics.
- Future implications
Chlamydia that is left untreated in women can result in pelvic inflammatory disease, fallopian tube infection. Permanent damage can result in the fallopian tubes, uterus and tissues surrounding the genitals. This damage can lead to potential tubal pregnancies, chronic pelvic pain and infertility.
- How can it be prevented?
Abstinence is the best way to avoid transmission. Men using a new latex condom during intercourse or when receiving oral sex, can reduce the chances of transmission. Latex dental dams used correctly can aid in transmission reduction for oral sex on a women or oral to anal sex.
- You should know
Having Chlamydia raises your chances of acquiring HIV if exposed.
According to the Center for Disease Control 1,210,523 cases of Chlamydia were reported from the 50 states and District of Columbia in 2008.