Most sexually active people in high school and college are aware of chlamydia. Much is made of this disease in health classes across the nation and globe, and there does exist good information out there to help people make smarter decisions surrounding sexual health.
However, that doesn’t mean everyone is aware of what chlamydia is, what the signs are or how to avoid it. Moreover, many people don’t take testing seriously enough because they don’t understand the many benefits associated with it. This has the unfortunate result of increasing the spread of chlamydia, a reality borne out by the numbers:
“The rates of reported cases of chlamydia were highest among adolescents and young adults aged 15–24 years during 2013–2017. In 2017, the age-specific rate of reported cases of chlamydia among 15–19 year olds was 2072.4 cases per 100,000 population and the rate among 20–24 year olds was 2,820.3 cases per 100,000 population.” (1)
As these statistics indicate, chlamydia really is a young person’s disease. Indeed, “97.4% of all reported chlamydia cases in women were among those aged 15–44 years.” However, considering the number of men and women who marry later, engage in sexual activity with multiple partners later, and get divorced and enter periods of sexual activity once more, it’s important for adults to confront the realities of chlamydia too.
Let’s do that now.
What Is Chlamydia?
“Chlamydia is a common sexually transmitted disease,” says MedlinePlus. “It is caused by bacteria called Chlamydia trachomatis. It can infect both men and women. Women can get chlamydia in the cervix, rectum, or throat. Men can get chlamydia in the urethra (inside the penis), rectum, or throat.” (2)
Chlamydia passes through sexual contact, usually from oral, vaginal or anal sex. However, sexual fluids coating the hands can also pass the infection to the mouth, throat and eyes. Additionally, the infection can pass from a mother to her infant during vaginal delivery. This can lead to pneumonia or conjunctivitis in the infant, which may necessitate antibiotic treatment.
The disease also poses a risk to pregnant women or women wishing to become pregnant, says Australia’s Health Department. “Women who have untreated chlamydia might develop pelvic inflammatory disease, which can cause ectopic pregnancies, chronic pelvic pain and infertility,” reports the government agency. “Because of this, doctors recommend that pregnant women should be screened for chlamydia.” Also, “Pregnant women who are infected with chlamydia have an increased risk of their waters breaking prematurely, causing the baby to be born early.” (3)
The disease does not pass from physical objects, from sharing drinking glasses or touching doorknobs, or from bedsheets and clothing.
How Can You Protect Against Getting Chlamydia?
Because chlamydia spreads easily, and because you don’t have to have actual intercourse in order to get the disease (or transmit it to someone else), it’s important you practice “safer sex.” This means (4):
- Use a barrier device such as a condom or internal condom when having vaginal or anal sex
- Use oral barriers such as dental dams when having oral sex with a partner whose sexual history has not been confirmed safe
- Have sex when you are in full control, i.e. you are not drunk or high
- Try to avoid multiple partners where possible
- Ask new sexual partners to get tested before engaging in a new relationship
In addition to all of these safe sex approaches, you yourself should also get tested regularly. Because chlamydia is very frequently asymptomatic, many people who have it don’t know they have it – yourself included. Testing dramatically increases the chances of it spreading person to person. The only way to detect it in such cases is to use verifiable scientific methods of identification.
Why Should You Get Tested?
There exist a huge number of reasons to test yourself regularly, including:
- Frequent testing allows you to spot other, more serious diseases, such as HIV and syphilis, which are potentially fatal.
- Testing reduces the chance of spreading chlamydia to children at birth.
- It reduces the possible complications of pregnancy, including potentially fatal ectopic pregnancies (that can develop in the fallopian tubes).
- Regular tests reduce the chances of developing complications in the uterus or testicles, which can result in infertility or sterility.
- Testing also prevents the spread of the disease to less education, less well-served populations, who might not have the wherewithal to seek cures or use protection during sex
If that’s not enough, try this: “Because of the large burden of disease and risks associated with infection, CDC recommends annual chlamydia screening for all sexually active women younger than age 25 years and women ≥25 years at increased risk for infection (e.g., women with new or multiple sex partners).” The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention do not give advice lightly, so it’s critical you follow that advice for the sake of your own health, your partners’ (and their partners’) wellbeing, and the safety of any future children you may wish to bear yourself or have with a spouse/partner. (5)
You’ll be happy to know that a home test can help you do just that.
How Does a Home STD Test Work?
Modern home STD kits provide results just as accurate as those you would get from a doctor’s office, with a much greater degree of privacy and discreetness. No longer do you have to alert your primary care physician when you need a test; now you can test at home and only go in if you see a positive result. Plus, home tests are quite affordable, reducing the need to pay copays for doctor’s visits, go through insurance companies and repeat the whole process year after year.
The kit itself is simple too. All you have to do is:
- Order the kit online
- Follow the instructions to collect and mail away your sample
- Register through the website to track your progress and receive your results, when ready
- Ask questions of our friendly, in-house team along the way
- Make a doctor’s appointment only if you get a positive result
- Retest once a year or as often as needed when you switch sexual partners
With simplicity like that right at your fingertips, you have no excuse not to take your sexual health more seriously. In so doing, you can also help reduce the millions of cases of chlamydia in men, women and child across the world. There’s no downside, so order your kit today!
- (1) Chlamydia. (2018). Retrieved from https://www.cdc.gov/std/stats17/chlamydia.htm
- (2) Chlamydia Infections. (2018). Retrieved from https://medlineplus.gov/chlamydiainfections.html
- (3) Chlamydia and Pregnancy. (2018). Retrieved from https://www.pregnancybirthbaby.org.au/chlamydia-and-pregnancy
- (4) Safer Sex. (2019). Retrieved from https://www.plannedparenthood.org/learn/stds-hiv-safer-sex/safer-sex
- (5) Chlamydia. (2018). Retrieved from https://www.cdc.gov/std/stats17/chlamydia.htm