What You Need to Know About Chlamydia Tests
Of the STDs that can be contracted, Chlamydia is the most common curable sexually transmitted disease. Chlamydia is caused by Chlamydia trachomatis, an obligate intracellular parasite. While there are Hundreds of thousands of new cases reported every year, it is believed that the number of reported cases represents less than half of all infections. Why would this be? Because many cases of Chlamydia do not develop symptoms.
If symptoms do occur, they are different in men than in women; and can also be mistaken for some other type of infection. This is why it is important to get a Chlamydia test if you believe you have come into sexual contact with a person who may have the disease.
In men, this sexually transmitted disease normally affects the urethra, the tube inside the penis that carries urine and sperm. The symptoms could include:
• discharge from the opening of the penis (the urethra)
• pain in the testicles
• burning pain on urination
• pain in, or discharge from, the rectum
In women, Chlamydia may infect the cervix, the opening that connects the vagina to the uterus, or womb. If this were to happen, symptoms may include:
• Vaginal irritation
• Painful sexual intercourse
• Vaginal discharge
• Nondescript pain in the lower abdomen
• Pain in, or discharge from, the rectum
• Severe pelvic pain from an infection that has ascended from the cervix into the upper reproductive tract.
It is wise to request a screen for Chlamydia and other common sexually transmitted diseases before beginning a sexual relationship with a new partner where one might be unprotected during sex. Prevention can be a strong possibility through the use of condoms and other barriers. Regular Chlamydia tests are recommended for people with multiple sex partners or those who have had other STDs such as gonorrhea or hepatitis. Reason being is that oftentimes there are no clear symptoms that go along with Chlamydia.
Tests for this disease can be done for both men and women using urine, although usually a medical professional will take a swab from a woman’s cervix over testing urine. A culture produced from a swab Chlamydia test is just more accurate. Samples may also be taken from a man’s penis in order to perform a culture screen. Testing for Chlamydia in this way allows the culture to grow and antibodies to form over time. These antibodies can then be seen and identified under a microscope.
Once tests have returned a positive or negative result, one can know how to proceed with treatment if needed. Treatment for the STD Chlamydia usually consists of a course of prescription antibiotics. Taking the antibiotics as prescribed will rid a person of Chlamydia within a few weeks. During the time of treatment, sex partners should practice safe sex because the disease is still contagious during this time.