The Sexual Health Center

Overcoming Stigma: Talking About Chlamydia Infections

Sexually transmitted diseases are a matter not much discussed. But it’s high time we spoke about them in order to raise awareness among people.

More than 20 types of sexually transmitted diseases have been recognized worldwide. Sexual infections are transmitted from one person to another through unprotected sexual contact.

Naturally, there is much stigma happening around sexually transmitted diseases and infections.

This has been preventing symptomatic people from getting diagnosed. Although some infections may be curable, they can cause serious complications, if ignored. 

Chlamydia is a prominent one among those which is mostly seen in young men and women who are sexually more active.

It can also affect older people who have multiple partners. Nearly 3 million Americans are infected with Chlamydia every year, the most common being teens and young adults.

This article is an elaboration on Chlamydia, the health risks it poses, available treatment options, and preventive measures. 

What Is Chlamydia? 

Chlamydia is one of the most common sexually transmitted infections caused by bacteria that can affect both men and women. More than 1.5 million cases of chlamydia infections are reported every year.

They are transmitted through sexual contact when vaginal fluid or semen-containing bacteria travels from one person to another.

Sexual contacts that do not involve penetration or ejaculation can also cause chlamydia transmission. Chlamydia is known as ‘a silent’ infection since most infected people exhibit no symptoms.

Studies reveal that 40 to 96 percent of people having chlamydia are asymptomatic.

Even if they show symptoms at some point, several weeks would have already passed. This leads to a late diagnosis and causes serious complications. 

Chlamydia

Several factors like age, gender, race, living circumstances, lack of sex education, and inaccessibility to barrier methods can all make one more likely to be infected with chlamydia.

Regular screenings and checkups for sexually transmitted infections can facilitate early diagnosis and prevent possible complications of chlamydia.

When left untreated, It can set off adverse conditions including permanent damage to the reproductive system. Chlamydia can easily spread from an infected person because of lacking symptoms.

In women with symptoms, it would be similar to those of cervicitis or urinary tract infections. In men, it mostly affects the urethra, causing symptoms similar to nongonococcal urethritis.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends regular chlamydia testing for health maintenance.

Transmission Of Chlamydia

A person gets infected with chlamydia when he/she engages in any kind of sexual contact with a person who is already contracted.

Sexual contact need not involve penetration or ejaculation to spread the disease.

Any kind of contact with vaginal fluid or semen can easily transmit the disease. Being asymptomatic, an infected person might pass on the infection to another without realizing it.

Transmission Of Chlamydia

If a pregnant woman has chlamydia, she is at risk of passing on the infection to her baby during birth.

An infected baby might get an eye infection or pneumonia. A person who has a history of Chlamydia and has successfully treated it can contract the infection again. 

Symptoms Of Chlamydia

Chlamydia comes with no symptoms in 40 to 96 percent of infected people. However, it can cause health complications in the future.

In some, symptoms may appear several weeks after contraction. These include:

Burning sensation while urinating
Abnormal discharge from the vagina or penis
Pain in genital areas
Pain in the lower abdomen
Pain in testicles
Inflammation
Bleeding
Painful sexual intercourse

It is essential to talk with your doctor and get screenings done if any of these symptoms prevail. 

?Risks Of Chlamydia

Chlamydia can cause permanent damage mostly in women and sometimes in men, if not treated properly. Some of the risks it poses are:

Pelvic inflammatory disease
Infertility
Ectopic pregnancy
Pelvic or abdominal pain for life
Scar tissue formation blocking fallopian tubes
More prone to HIV infection

?Treating Chlamydia

Chlamydia can easily be diagnosed through laboratory tests like nucleic acid amplification tests.

A health specialist may take a urine sample or a vaginal sample and send it to a laboratory to check for bacteria that cause chlamydia.

It is an easy-to-treat condition, if not worsened with time. Antibiotics are highly effective in treating Chlamydia as it’s bacterial in nature. 

Healthcare professionals may prescribe antibiotics like Azithromycin or Doxycycline. All instructions should be carefully followed for a complete cure.

It might take up to two weeks for a full recovery. However, any permanent damage done cannot be reversed with medicines.

Since one can be repeatedly infected with Chlamydia, it is important to get tested again after three months.

?How To Prevent Getting Infected With Chlamydia? 

The easiest way to stay away from Chlamydia is to abstain from improper sexual activities.

To Prevent Getting Infected With Chlamydia

Since Chlamydia is transmitted through sexual contact, there are a few things to consider if you want to reduce the risk of getting infected. 

  • Using Barriers:

Always use barrier methods like condoms when engaging in sexual activities. It may reduce the risk of getting infected.

  • Getting Tested:

Regular screenings can enable early diagnosis and prevent further transmission of the bacteria. Early treatment makes it curable and prevents further complications that arise when the condition worsens. 

  • Open Communication Among Partners:

Have open discussions with your partner about using preventive methods. Having multiple partners can increase the risk of contracting and transmitting Chlamydia. 

  • Monogamous Relationship:

Always opt for a monogamous relationship to prevent chlamydia or any other infections. Having multiple partners might increase the risk of being infected and transmitting the infection to more people. 

Bottom Line

Talking about sexually transmitted diseases has long been considered taboo. But it only shoves people further toward developing adverse health conditions, depression, and ruined lives.

Often, people are ignorant regarding the health risks they are subjecting themselves to, through improper and unhygienic sexual practices.

Sexually transmitted infections must be openly conversed about with healthcare providers in order to treat and take necessary precautions in the future.

Getting infected with a sexually transmitted disease will not wreck one’s life. But choosing to stay heedless surely will.  

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