Why are chlamydia screenings important?
Sexually transmitted infections or STIs are bacteria or viruses. They’re spread through sexual contact in blood, semen, vaginal discharge or other bodily fluids. One in five people have an STI in the US. Almost half of new STIs are in young adults ages 15-24 years old.
Chlamydia is one of the most common STIs for men and women. Sypmtoms in women include vaginal discharge and burning when peeing, while men may have discharge from the penis, burning while peeing and pain and swelling in one or both testicles. Testicular pain is not common. Some people may have no signs at all.
Chlamydia can cause pelvic inflammatory disease (PID) in women. PID impacts the reproductive organs. Scar tissue builds up and pockets of fluid form, called abscesses. Leaving this infection untreated is painful. The permanent damage it causes makes it harder or impossible to become pregnant later. Finding out you have an STI early can prevent PID and more problems.
Get tested for this STI yearly until you are 24 years old. Men and women who are 25 years and older who are high risk should keep getting tested. Risk factors for infection include:
- Having multiple sexual partners
- Having a partner with this STI
- Not using condoms
- A history of STIs
Testing can be done at a yearly visit with your doctor. It’s important to be honest with your doctor about your sexual health. They’re able to take care of you better when you are open with them.
You should tell your partner(s) if you test positive. They’ll need to get tested too. This will help stop spread of STIs. It’s also vital that you finish your medication so the infection doesn’t come back. You shouldn’t have sex until you know the STI is gone.