On the news and in newspapers and magazines the public is presented with new studies and statistics regarding HIV/AIDS. Additionally, both the American and global public should also recognize that Chlamydia, one of the most common sexually transmitted infections across continents, is equally dangerous and rapidly claiming victims, specifically, women and young adults. Because, like many STDs, Chlamydia is typically asymptomatic, sexually active persons cannot be passive about their sexual health. With quick action, doctors can treat a case of Chlamydia with a combination of antibiotics.
Behind the Cloak
Chlamydia infects nearly 3 million people in the United States alone. While most people understand that STDs are transmitted through intercourse (vaginal and anal), those participating in unprotected sexual activities with multiple partners should remember that like most other STDs Chlamydia can be transmitted during oral sex.
Two Major Symptoms
Chlamydia causes two major infections, in the eyes and genitals. Specifically, Chlamydia can cause trachoma, which leads to blindness. While once the leading cause of blindness in the world, a 2002 study conducted by The World Health Organization shows that there has been an eleven percent decline in Chlamydia related blindness since the mid 1990s. Like conjunctivitis, or as it is more colloquially known, “pink eye”, trachoma is highly contagious and can be transmitted from eye-to-eye by fingers, shared towels, pillows, blankets, etc, and through coughing and sneezing. The second symptom is an infection of the genitals.
For men, there are noticeable physical symptoms of an infected urethra indicating that you may be positive for Chlamydia. However, the signs only show in about 50 percent of all transmissions. Thats reffered as being asymptomatic meaning that you carry the disease yet show no signs or symptoms. These signs include painful urination, cloudy-colored discharge from the penis, swollen/tender testicles, and in some cases, fever.
Chlamydia appears to be most prevalent among women and young adults. That is, women are infected with Chlamydia 3 times as much as men while young adults, ages 15 to 24 carry the infection 5 times more than the general sexually active population. Specifically for women, Chlamydia can infect the cervix, showing no symptoms in 75 percent of all cases. Those women who do experience symptoms however, may notice vaginal bleeding/discharge, abdominal pain, fever, and frequent urination. If left undetected by a doctor a woman can develop pelvic inflammatory disease (PID), affecting the uterus, fallopian tubes, and ovaries, ultimately causing infertility or various pregnancy complications. Women who have Chlamydia and become pregnant can pass the infection to their child if delivered vaginally. Chlamydia causes nearly half a million cases of PID and those who test positive are 5 times more likely to contract HIV.
Routine STD testing is a necessary aspect of healthy living made all the more vital by the tendency for STDs to be asymptomatic. Therefore, one cannot be passive about one’s sexual health, taking action only when something looks or feels problematic. If left untreated, serious physical problems can develop. Making an appointment to be tested can be done over the phone.