If you, your partner or someone you love may have chlamydia, or was recently diagnosed, you are not alone. Chlamydia is the most commonly reported bacterial sexually transmitted infection in the United States. In 2016, more than 1.5 million cases of chlamydia were reported in the U.S., and health officials believe the actual number of annual infections surpasses 2.8 million.
Women are three times more likely than men to be diagnosed with chlamydia, although much of this difference is likely due to women being more inclined to be tested. Still, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC) reports women ages 15-24 are the most likely group to be infected with chlamydia, and that 1-in-15 sexually active women ages 14-19 have chlamydia.
The spread of chlamydia is especially hard to slow because the infection is often symptom-free, leading CDC epidemiologist Elizabeth Torrone to recommend all women younger than 25 should be tested annually for chlamydia.
Torrone says, “(Chlamydia) is one of the most common sexually transmitted infections in the U.S. One of the main concerns about chlamydia is that it doesn’t have any symptoms, so most persons who have it don’t know they have it.”
Approximately 75% of infected women and 50% of infected men have no chlamydia symptoms. When symptoms do appear in women, they may include abnormal genital discharge and/or a burning sensation when urinating. In men, similar symptoms may be accompanied by pain or swelling in one or both testicles. Chlamydia can also infect the rectum, in which case rectal pain, discharge and bleeding may occur. If symptoms appear at all, it may not be until several weeks after contracting the infection.
While chlamydia may not always present symptoms, it can have long-term negative impacts on your health. In women, left untreated, chlamydia can result in pelvic inflammatory disease (PID), which can lead to abscesses, pain, fallopian tube damage and even infertility. In men, chlamydia can cause epididymitis, a painful condition that can lead to infertility.
At Sira in Gainesville, we offer free testing for chlamydia and gonorrhea (the second most common sexually transmitted infection in the U.S.). If you are sexually active, even if you don’t have symptoms, it’s a good idea to be tested. We make the process easy and confidential. Contact Sira today at 352-377-4947 to schedule your free test.