When people think of the most dreaded STDs, HIV and genital herpes often come to mind. One STD that people often underestimate the severity of, however, is chlamydia. Chlamydia is a disease affecting both men and women. The reason it is so dangerous, particularly for women, is because, if left untreated, it can destroy or even eliminate a woman’s ability to safety get pregnant later in life. If caught and treated early enough, however, the disease never has to go that far. Through chlamydia testing, men can keep from doing serious reproductive damage to their partners, and women can protect their fertility.
Who Should Be Tested for Chlamydia?
Chlamydia testing, as well as general STD testing, is recommended for anyone who has had unprotected sexual contact of any kind. Chlamydia can be spread through oral, anal, and vaginal sex when a condom or dental dam is not used or is not used properly. Testing is typically quick and, regardless of what the outcome of the test may be, it is much better to know so that, if the disease is present, it can be treated quickly and not be spread to others.
There are actually several different types of chlamydia tests that can be performed based on the person’s gender. Based on several factors, a healthcare professional can quickly determine the best possible test for a specific person. Typically, however, chlamydia testing is performed by taking a sample of body fluid or urine to determine if the bacteria that causes chlamydia is present in the body.
Pregnancy and Chlamydia
While chlamydia testing is advisable and important for all people who have engaged in unprotected sexual contact, it is especially important for women who are pregnant or trying to become pregnant. If chlamydia is present and pregnancy occurs, a woman’s risk of a dangerous and possibly deadly ectopic pregnancy is greatly increased. Furthermore, pregnant women who have chlamydia can pass the infection onto their unborn babies, leading to eye infections, pneumonia, and an increased risk of early delivery.
Chlamydia testing is available through many different venues. Most people just ask their healthcare professionals to provide chlamydia and STD testing. However, there are other options available, such as Planned Parenthood, testing clinics, and even on-job or on-campus testing. Online testing is even available. With so many options, there is absolutely no reason for people not to get tested for this serious STD.
After a Diagnosis
If, after testing, a person is found to have chlamydia, he or she should take care not to spread the disease to others by following the directions of the clinician who performed the test. Generally, infected person should not engage in sexual contact until a week after treatment has begun. It is also important to advise those who may have been exposed to the disease to get tested and to avoid sexual contact with past sex partners until they have been tested and/or treated for chlamydia. Remember, chlamydia is a serious STD, but with early and proper testing and treatment, it does not have to permanently and negatively impact a person’s life.