Chlamydia is a sexually transmitted infection that is often undiagnosed because the bacteria causes little to no symptoms, especially in cisgender women. Still, the disease is considered to be the most widespread in the U.S.
Center for Disease Control and Prevention noted there were over 1.7
million new chlamydia cases in 2017 - 45 percent of that number
involving young girls and women between the ages of 15 and 24.
York City family physician Dr. Anita Ravi encourages doctors to start
adding STI screenings as part of the yearly patient checkup to
identify those who have chlamydia and get them treated. Failure to do
so could lead to long-term health consequences.
said a person could have chlamydia for years and never know it. She
said that’s what makes it so scary. People who are diagnosed with
it and haven’t had sex in a long time have to be told they may have
had it for years.
chlamydia in women can cause pelvic inflammatory disease that can
then lead to fertility problems and fallopian tube scarring. For men,
untreated chlamydia can lead to inflammation in the coiled tube where
sperm is located in the testicle. It can also cause a foul-smelling
treatment involves an oral antibiotic, like azithromycin, that will
clear up within two weeks of when the medication is started. People
with the STI are urged not to have sex for another two weeks after
finishing taking the medication.
said chlamydia hadn’t received much attention because its symptoms
are so rare to be seen and experienced. However, the U.S. Preventive
Services Task Force has ensured that more primary care and family
medicine doctors are offering a triple screen for the disease. She
said doctors are searching for chlamydia beyond the vagina, but also
the anus and mouth.
That’s because chlamydia can infect many tissues it comes into contact with. According to Ravi, she’s diagnosed both anal and oral chlamydia. She said even people who have never had vaginal sex (who still think they are virgins) are being diagnosed with other types of chlamydia.
only surefire way in which to stop the spread of chlamydia is to use
condoms, but Ravi acknowledges that’s not always possible for a
multitude of reasons:
By making it standard, it reduces the uncomfortableness that people have about STDs and ensuring that the disease is caught early on. Ravi said just mentioning it during the first visit helps to alleviate the fear of the discussion down the road.
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