Detecting and Treating Chlamydia
Since Chlamydia is the most common sexually transmitted disease (STD) in the United States, most sexually active individuals have heard of Chlamydia and know that it can affect both men and women and that it can be spread via oral, genital or anal sex. Some individuals are even aware that Chlamydia is caused by the bacteria Chlamydia Trachomatis.
However, what many people are not aware of is the fact that Chlamydia infection is often asymptomatic, meaning that there are commonly no external symptoms of Chlamydia. And yet, if left undetected and untreated, Chlamydia can give rise to serious health complications, including the spreading of the infection to other reproductive organs and ultimately to infertility.
These facts make the detection and diagnosis of Chlamydia all the more essential. Detection begins with awareness and then knowledge follows of what steps to take and how to get treated.
Since the detection of Chlamydia is critical for the maintenance of healthy reproductive organs, and since the infection is often invisible, all sexually active persons should be routinely screened for Chlamydia, as well as for other STDs. In fact, the Center for Disease Control recommends annual STD screening for both men and women.
Until Chlamydia is formally diagnosed, individuals who suspect they have this STD cannot be treated. One way Chlamydia infection can be diagnosed is from lab tests that analyze urine. In men, a urethral swab is taken, while for women both a cervical swab and a urethral swab are taken. Alternatively, Chlamydia can be diagnosed via blood or tissue samples that are analyzed in order to detect antibodies made by the body when exposed to the Chlamydia infection or are tested for traces of the original bacteria, Chlamydia Trachomatis.
Fortunately, treating Chlamydia is relatively simple and you only need to take antibiotics and anti-inflammatory medications. Some of the common antibiotics used to treat Chlamydia include azithromycin and doxycycline. Depending on the individual case, a doctor may prescribe is single dose of azithromycin to eradicate the Chlamydia infection, or a daily dose of doxycycline over the course of seven days may be recommended.
Furthermore, throughout the duration of treatment for Chlamydia, abstinence from all sexual contact and activity is necessary. Sex increases the risk of re-infection via the exchange of infected body fluids, and contrary to popular belief, the use of condoms does not guarantee that the infection will not be passed on.
On the other hand, long term prevention of STDs, such as Chlamydia, include the use of condoms for all sexual activities, beginning the moment sexual contact commences. Other preventative safe sex practices include having mutually monogamous sexual relationships and routine screening for all STDs.
Finally, in the advent that one is diagnosed with Chlamydia, all sexual partners should be notified and tested for infection as well. If someone gets treated but their partner does not, the treated individual is at risk for re-infection, which, especially in the case of women, can lead to serious fertility complications.