Chlamydia 101

Posted on October 28, 2011

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Who can get it?

-Anyone who is sexually active can get Chlamydia.  This STI is spread through vaginal, anal, or oral sex with someone who is infected.

 

You can increase your risk of infection by:

-having sex without using latex or polyurethane condoms

-having multiple sex partners

-having a different STI or HIV

-having sex while under the influence of drugs and alcohol as an impaired mind makes it less likely that condoms will be used correctly

 

Symptoms:

Many people do not have symptoms.  Those who do usually report the following:

Men

-unusual discharge from the penis (usually appears thick, white, or watery)

-pain and/or burning during urination

Less common symptoms include

-heavy feeling and/or pain in the testicles

-pain, swelling or redness around the scrotum

Women

-unusual discharge from the vagina (usually appears yellowish or whitish)

-pain and/or burning during sexual intercourse or urination

-pain in the stomach or back

-bleeding from the vagina when not on her period

-in more serious cases, fever

Symptoms may start about 1-3 weeks after being infected.

 

Other things to know:

-In Boston, women under 24 years old have the highest rates of Chlamydia

 

Testing:

-The only way to know for sure if you have Chlamydia is to get tested. You may get asked for a urine sample, or may wipe the infected area with a test swab

 

The CDC recommends annual testing for:

-all sexually active women under 25

-people at high risk (sexually active people, with multiple partners, who practice unprotected sex)

-all women during pregnancy

-three months after treatment for any STI

-every time you have sex with a new partner and are unsure of their status

Treatment:

-Chlamydia is easily treated with a single dose of antibiotics

-Do not have sex for 7 days after your treatment is over

-New regulations in Massachusetts allow partner’s of patients with Chlamydia to be treated without being tested!

 

If left untreated, Chlamydia can cause serious health problems:

-Pelvic Inflammatory Disease can cause infertility (no longer able to have children)

-can increase your risk of getting other STIs and HIV

 

Prevention:

-Abstinence is the only way to prevent any STI!

 

If you are having sex, then always use a condom! Talk to your partners about their health and yours. Get tested routinely!

 

For more information please call the Mayor’s Health Line at 617-534-5050.

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