What Is A Chlamydia Test
This test detects a chlamydia infection, the most common bacterial sexually transmitted infection in the United States. A chlamydia test looks for the bacteria that cause the infection .
For this test, you provide a urine sample. Or your provider takes a swab of fluid from your vagina, anus, throat or eye . Most often, you get this test in your healthcare providers office. But you may be able to do the test on your own using an at-home test kit.
How Is The Test Used
Chlamydia testing is used to screen for and diagnose sexually transmitted infections caused by the bacteria Chlamydia trachomatis.
Testing for Chlamydia trachomatis and Neisseria gonorrhoeae is often done at the same time since the infections caused by these two bacteria can have similar signs and symptoms. These bacteria may be acquired at the same time, and you may have infections with both. A definitive diagnosis is important since the two infections require different antibiotic treatment.
Repeat testing is recommended to ensure that treatment has been effective. This is done about three months after you have completed treatment.
How Do Men Get Tested For Stds
If you are a male who has recently had unprotected sex or taken part in risky sexual behavior, you may be wondering how to get tested for an STD. This is a great question and is the first step in taking control over your sexual health. Read on to find out the testing methods for the most common STDs found in men.
Understanding The Risks And Symptoms
What Happens If Chlamydia Goes Untreated
If a person is not treated for chlamydia, complications may occur. Women frequently develop pelvic inflammatory disease . PID can cause infertility , chronic pelvic pain, tubal pregnancies, and the continued spread of the disease. In men, untreated chlamydia can cause urethral infection and complications such as swollen and tender testicles. Chlamydia infection during pregnancy may result in premature rupture of membranes, preterm delivery and possible tubal pregnancy in a small percent of women. In addition, chlamydia can cause conjunctival and pneumonic infection in the newborn. Persons with a chlamydia infection have an increased chance of getting other infections such as gonorrhea or HIV.
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Practice Safer Sex By Using A Condom
When used correctly, external and internal condoms help prevent the spread of many STIs during vaginal, anal and oral sex. Condoms are less effective at protecting against STIs transmitted by skin-to-skin contact, such as herpes simplex virus, genital warts ) and syphilis .
Important things to remember when using condoms:
- Check the condom package for damage. Do not use a damaged condom
- Check the expiry date. Do not use a condom after its expiry date
- Carefully open the package so that the condom does not tear. Do not use a condom that has been torn
- Keep condoms away from sharp objects such as rings, studs or piercings
- Store condoms at room temperature
- Use a new condom every time you have sex. Do not reuse condoms
- Do not use 2 condoms at once. Using 2 condoms together may result in a condom breaking
- Use only water-based lubricants with external latex condoms. Oil-based lubricants, such as petroleum jelly, lotion or baby oil, can weaken and destroy latex
- Water or oil-based lubricant may be used with polyurethane/nitrile condoms
- Use only condoms made of latex or polyurethane/nitrile/polyisoprene rubbers. Latex and polyurethane condoms are the best types of condoms to use to help prevent pregnancy and STIs.
- Avoid using condoms with spermicides containing nonoxynol-9 as it can irritate tissue and may increase the chance of getting an STI
Chlamydial Infection Among Neonates
Prenatal screening and treatment of pregnant women is the best method for preventing chlamydial infection among neonates. C. trachomatis infection of neonates results from perinatal exposure to the mothers infected cervix. Initial C. trachomatis neonatal infection involves the mucous membranes of the eye, oropharynx, urogenital tract, and rectum, although infection might be asymptomatic in these locations. Instead, C. trachomatis infection among neonates is most frequently recognized by conjunctivitis that develops 512 days after birth. C. trachomatis also can cause a subacute, afebrile pneumonia with onset at ages 13 months. Although C. trachomatis has been the most frequent identifiable infectious cause of ophthalmia neonatorum, neonatal chlamydial infections, including ophthalmia and pneumonia, have occurred less frequently since institution of widespread prenatal screening and treatment of pregnant women. Neonates born to mothers at high risk for chlamydial infection, with untreated chlamydia, or with no or unconfirmed prenatal care, are at high risk for infection. However, presumptive treatment of the neonate is not indicated because the efficacy of such treatment is unknown. Infants should be monitored to ensure prompt and age-appropriate treatment if symptoms develop. Processes should be in place to ensure communication between physicians and others caring for the mother and the newborn to ensure thorough monitoring of the newborn after birth.
How Do I Know If I Have Chlamydia
You cant tell if you have chlamydia just by the way you feel. The only way to know for sure if you have chlamydia is to get tested whether or not you have symptoms.
If youre showing any signs of chlamydia, you should get tested. Testing is also a good idea if youve had unprotected sex or if a partner has chlamydia . In general, people who are sexually active should get tested for STDs, including chlamydia, about once a year. If youre pregnant, get tested for chlamydia at your first prenatal visit. Want to know if you should be tested for chlamydia? Check out this quiz to find out.
Chlamydia testing is pretty easy and painless. The best part about getting tested for STDs? Once you get it over with, it can really put your mind at ease. And if you DO have chlamydia, its best to know right away so you can take medicine and get better as soon as possible.
Can I Mistake The Visible Signs For Another Infection
Yes, with chlamydia, its very easy to find these symptoms misleading. The problem is that the bacteria will take time to affect the system, and until 1 to 3 weeks after youve been exposed, you might start to experience the symptoms. So, there is a high chance that the symptoms you are experiencing are caused by a different infection.
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What Can Happen If Chlamydia Is Not Treated
Chlamydia can lead to pelvic inflammatory disease . PID is a serious infection of the reproductive organs. PID can cause:
- Tubal pregnancies, which can lead to death of the mother and unborn child.
- Inflammation surrounding the liver.
A mother also can pass the infection to her child during birth. Infection in newborns can lead to:
- Eye infections .
Am I At Risk For Chlamydia
Sexually active people can get chlamydia through vaginal, anal, or oral sex without a condom with a partner who has chlamydia.
Sexually active young people are at a higher risk of getting chlamydia. This is due to behaviors and biological factors common among young people. Gay and bisexual men are also at risk since chlamydia can spread through oral and anal sex.
If you are sexually active, have an honest and open talk with your healthcare provider. Ask them if you should get tested for chlamydia or other STDs. Gay or bisexual men and pregnant people should also get tested for chlamydia. If you are a sexually active woman, you should get tested for chlamydia every year if you are:
- Younger than 25 years old.
- 25 years and older with risk factors, such as new or multiple sex partners, or a sex partner who has a sexually transmitted infection.
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Who To Test For Chlamydia
Anyone with the following genital symptoms should not have sex until they see a healthcare provider:
- A discharge
- A burning sensation when peeing
- Unusual sores, or a rash
Anyone having oral, anal, or vaginal sex with a partner recently diagnosed with an STD should see a healthcare provider.
Because chlamydia usually has no symptoms, screening is necessary to identify most infections. Screening programs can reduce rates of adverse sequelae in women.31,41 CDC recommends yearly chlamydia screening of all sexually active women younger than 25. CDC also recommends screening for older women with risk factors, such as new or multiple partners, or a sex partner who has a sexually transmitted infection.40 Screen and treat those who are pregnant as noted in How does chlamydia affect a pregnant person and their baby? Women who are sexually active should discuss their risk factors with a healthcare provider to determine if more frequent screening is necessary.
Routine screening is not necessary for men. However, consider screening sexually active young men in clinical settings with a high prevalence of chlamydia. This can include adolescent clinics, correctional facilities, and STD clinics. Consider this when resources permit and do not hinder screening efforts in women.40
Infant Pneumonia Caused By C Trachomatis
Chlamydial pneumonia among infants typically occurs at age 13 months and is a subacute pneumonia. Characteristic signs of chlamydial pneumonia among infants include a repetitive staccato cough with tachypnea and hyperinflation and bilateral diffuse infiltrates on a chest radiograph. In addition, peripheral eosinophilia occurs frequently. Because clinical presentations differ, all infants aged 13 months suspected of having pneumonia, especially those whose mothers have a history of, are at risk for , or suspected of having a chlamydial infection should be tested for C. trachomatis and treated if infected.
Specimens for chlamydial testing should be collected from the nasopharynx. Tissue culture is the definitive standard diagnostic test for chlamydial pneumonia. Nonculture tests can be used. DFA is the only nonculture FDA-cleared test for detecting C. trachomatis from nasopharyngeal specimens however, DFA of nasopharyngeal specimens has a lower sensitivity and specificity than culture. NAATs are not cleared by FDA for detecting chlamydia from nasopharyngeal specimens, and clinical laboratories should verify the procedure according to CLIA regulations . Tracheal aspirates and lung biopsy specimens, if collected, should be tested for C. trachomatis.
Erythromycin base or ethylsuccinate 50 mg/kg body weight/day orally divided into 4 doses daily for 14 days
Azithromycin suspension 20 mg/kg body weight/day orally, 1 dose daily for 3 days
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Some Of The Best Home Chlamydia Tests
Below, we look at some testing options for individuals to consider. People can take several of the tests at home, whereas others require a lab visit.Please note that the writer of this article has not tried these products. All information presented is purely research-based and correct at the time of publication.
What Happens During A Gonorrhea Test
If you are a woman, a sample may be taken from your cervix. For this procedure, you will lie on your back on an exam table, with your knees bent. You will rest your feet in supports called stirrups. Your health care provider will use a plastic or metal instrument called a speculum to open the vagina, so the cervix can be seen. Your provider will then use a soft brush or plastic spatula to collect the sample.
If you are a man, your provider may take a swab from the opening of your urethra.
For both men and women, a sample may be taken from a suspected area of infection, such as the mouth or rectum. Urine tests are also used for both men and women.
Some gonorrhea tests can be done with an at-home STD test kit. If your health care provider recommends at-home testing, be sure to follow all directions carefully.
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What Does The Test Result Mean
A positive test indicates you have an active chlamydia infection that requires treatment with antibiotics.
A negative test means only that there is no evidence of infection at the time of the test. If you are at an increased risk, it is important that you have screening tests performed yearly to check for possible infection, especially since re-infection is common, particularly among teenagers.
If you are infected, your sexual partner should be tested and treated as well.
What Complications Can Result From Chlamydial Infection
The initial damage that chlamydia causes often goes unnoticed. However, chlamydial infections can lead to serious health problems with both short- and long-term consequences.
In women, untreated chlamydia can spread into the uterus or fallopian tubes and cause pelvic inflammatory disease . Symptomatic PID occurs in about 10 to 15 percent of women with untreated chlamydia.30,31 However, chlamydia can also cause subclinical inflammation of the upper genital tract . Both acute and subclinical PID can cause permanent damage to the fallopian tubes, uterus, and surrounding tissues. The damage can lead to chronic pelvic pain, tubal factor infertility, and potentially fatal ectopic pregnancy.32,33
Some patients with chlamydial PID develop perihepatitis, or Fitz-Hugh-Curtis Syndrome, an inflammation of the liver capsule and surrounding peritoneum, which is associated with right upper quadrant pain.
In pregnant women, untreated chlamydia has been associated with pre-term delivery,34 as well as ophthalmia neonatorum and pneumonia in the newborn.
Reactive arthritis can occur in men and women following symptomatic or asymptomatic chlamydial infection, sometimes as part of a triad of symptoms formerly referred to as Reiters Syndrome.35
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Complications From Chlamydia And Gonorrhea
Because these two diseases often have no symptoms, some people go untreated.
Even with those who have symptoms, stigma, access, or other reasons get in the way of getting medical attention.
Not receiving prompt and proper treatment can create serious health problems.
For women, chlamydia and gonorrhea that goes untreated can spread through your uterus to your fallopian tubes.
Fallopian tubes connect the ovaries to the uterus and transport fertilized eggs during pregnancy. If untreated bacteria that cause gonorrhea and chlamydia spread to this area, the result is pelvic inflammatory disease , affecting around 5% of women in the US.
Pelvic inflammatory disease, similar to chlamydia and gonorrhea, can have no symptoms or just some pelvic or abdominal pain initially.
Unfortunately, PID can do permanent damage to a womens reproductive system, including:
For men, gonorrhea and chlamydia can also lead to serious health problems.
It is uncommon for either to cause infertility in men, but sometimes the infection can spread past the penis causing fever or pain.
One difference is that chlamydia can also spread to the urethra, causing Non-Gonococcal urethritis, which is an infection of the tube that carries urine resulting in inflammation, pain, and fever.
This cannot be caused by the bacteria that causes gonorrhea. However, for both diseases, it is possible for either to cause:
For both women and men, chlamydia and gonorrhea can develop into a form of arthritis:
When Should I Get Tested
Dont delay getting tested if you think you might have chlamydia. Being diagnosed and treated as soon as possible will reduce your risk of developing any serious complications of chlamydia.
You can get a chlamydia test at any time although you might be advised to repeat the test later on if you have it less than 2 weeks since you had sex because the infection might not always be found in the early stages.
You should consider getting tested for chlamydia if:
- you think you could have a sexually transmitted infection
- a sexual partner tells you they have an STI
- youre pregnant or planning a pregnancy
- youre offered a chlamydia test as part of the NCSP
If you live in England, youre a woman under 25 and sexually active, its recommended that you have a chlamydia test once a year, and when you have sex with new or casual partners.
If you live in England, youre a man under 25 and sexually active, its recommended that you have a chlamydia test once a year if you are not using condoms with new or casual partners.
If you have chlamydia, you may be offered another test 3 to 6 months after being treated. This is because young adults who test positive for chlamydia are at increased risk of catching it again.
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