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How Fast Can Chlamydia Spread

What Does The Test Result Mean

What You Need to Know About Chlamydia

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.

Letting Partners Know You Have Chlamydia

Sexual partners may be infected too. If you have chlamydia, anyone you have had sex with from the last 6 months needs to be informed, tested and treated.

If they dont know, they could reinfect you or infect someone else if they are not treated. dont receive treatment.

Most people will appreciate being told they may have an infection and it is an important step in preventing further infection in the community.

Your local GP and sexual health centre can help you inform your partners and let them know that they need a test. This process is called partner notification. It can be done anonymously, and your confidentiality is always respected.

You can also anonymously notify your sexual partners of the need to get tested and treated for chlamydia via the Let Them Know website if you feel unable to speak to them personally.

There are also nurses who can help you anonymously notify your partners. They can be contacted on .

How Did I Get Chlamydia If I Didnt Cheat

You can get chlamydia if your partner had vaginal, oral or anal sex with someone who was infected and then had sex with you. People in relationships may have different ideas about what kinds of sexual contact counts as cheating, and this miscommunication can lead to infections. Communicate honestly with your partner about what sex youre having and what sex theyre having. Practice safer sex to reduce your risk of catching chlamydia, and get regularly screened to be sure.

A note from Cleveland Clinic

It can be embarrassing to talk about anything sex-related with your healthcare provider, including STI prevention. But your sex life is an important part of your health that your provider needs to know about to care for you. Not getting the treatment you need for chlamydia can pose serious risks to your health. Speak with your provider about getting regularly screened for chlamydia and other STIs to reduce your risks of complications. Practice safer sex to prevent the spread of chlamydia.

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You Can Get Chlamydia More Than Once

With some diseases, having one infection makes you immune to future infections. That’s not the case with chlamydia. If you engage in sexual activity with a person who has a chlamydia infection, you can get it again, even if you’ve just completed treatment for it.

“Both partners should be treated before reinitiating sexual intercourse to prevent relapse,” Schaffir says.

Who Should Get Tested For Chlamydia

Chlamydia: Symptoms, treatment, and causes

Because chlamydia is very common and often has no symptoms, anyone who is sexually active should think about being tested. Because chlamydia is very common among young women, The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommend sexually active women age 25 or younger get tested once per year. Chlamydia testing is also recommended for women with new or multiple sexual partners and pregnant women.

Anyone who is sexually active should talk with a healthcare provider about whether they need testing for chlamydia or other STIs. Dont be afraid to speak openly about your sex life, as you can get the best care by having an honest discussion with your healthcare provider.

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Can Chlamydia Be Prevented

The only sure way to prevent chlamydia is to not have vaginal, anal, or oral sex.

Correct usage of latex condoms greatly reduces, but does not eliminate, the risk of catching or spreading chlamydia. If your or your partner is allergic to latex, you can use polyurethane condoms.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

How Soon Can I Have Sex Again

Dont have oral, vaginal or anal sex, or use sex toys, until you and your partner have both finished the treatment and any symptoms have gone. This is to help prevent you being re-infected or passing the infection on to someone else.

If youre given antibiotic treatment called azithromycin, youll still need to avoid sex for seven days after starting the treatment as thats how long it takes to work.

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What Can Be Done To Prevent The Spread Of Chlamydia

  • Limit your number of sex partners
  • Use a male or female condom
  • If you think you are infected or have been exposed, avoid any sexual contact and visit a local sexually transmitted disease clinic, a hospital or your doctor. Either bring your sex partners with you when you are treated or notify them immediately so they can obtain examination and treatment.

What Is The Treatment For Chlamydia

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Chlamydia can be easily cured with antibiotics. HIV-positive persons with chlamydia should receive the same treatment as those who are HIV-negative.

Persons with chlamydia should abstain from sexual activity for 7 days after single dose antibiotics or until completion of a 7-day course of antibiotics, to prevent spreading the infection to partners. It is important to take all of the medication prescribed to cure chlamydia. Medication for chlamydia should not be shared with anyone. Although medication will cure the infection, it will not repair any permanent damage done by the disease. If a persons symptoms continue for more than a few days after receiving treatment, he or she should return to a health care provider to be reevaluated.

Repeat infection with chlamydia is common.49 Women whose sex partners have not been appropriately treated are at high risk for re-infection. Having multiple chlamydial infections increases a womans risk of serious reproductive health complications, including pelvic inflammatory disease and ectopic pregnancy.50,51 Women and men with chlamydia should be retested about three months after treatment of an initial infection, regardless of whether they believe that their sex partners were successfully treated.40

Infants infected with chlamydia may develop ophthalmia neonatorum and/or pneumonia.10 Chlamydial infection in infants can be treated with antibiotics.

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How Often Should I Get Checked For Chlamydia

Sexual health check-ups are recommended for anyone who is sexually active. Frequency of testing also depends on your STI risk:

  • An annual sexual health check-up is highly recommended if you are sexually active especially if you are under 25.
  • Get checked more often during the year if you frequently change sexual partners.
  • Remember, you are at greater risk if you have sex without a condom with 1 or multiple sexual partners.

What Are The Symptoms Of Chlamydia

Chlamydia is known as a silent infection because most infected people are asymptomatic and lack abnormal physical examination findings. Estimates of the proportion of chlamydia-infected people who develop symptoms vary by setting and study methodology two published studies that incorporated modeling techniques to address limitations of point prevalence surveys estimated that only about 10% of men and 5-30% of women with laboratory-confirmed chlamydial infection develop symptoms.21.22 The incubation period of chlamydia is poorly defined. However, given the relatively slow replication cycle of the organism, symptoms may not appear until several weeks after exposure in those persons who develop symptoms.

In women, the bacteria initially infect the cervix, where the infection may cause signs and symptoms of cervicitis , and sometimes the urethra, which may result in signs and symptoms of urethritis . Infection can spread from the cervix to the upper reproductive tract , causing pelvic inflammatory disease , which may be asymptomatic 23 or acute, with typical symptoms of abdominal and/or pelvic pain, along with signs of cervical motion tenderness, and uterine or adnexal tenderness on examination.

Men who are symptomatic typically have urethritis, with a mucoid or watery urethral discharge and dysuria. A minority of infected men develop epididymitis , presenting with unilateral testicular pain, tenderness, and swelling.24

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What Happens If I Dont Get Treated

The initial damage that chlamydia causes often goes unnoticed. However, chlamydia can lead to serious health problems.

If you are a woman, untreated chlamydia can spread to your uterus and fallopian tubes . This can cause pelvic inflammatory disease . PID often has no symptoms, however some women may have abdominal and pelvic pain. Even if it doesnt cause symptoms initially, PID can cause permanent damage to your reproductive system. PID can lead to long-term pelvic pain, inability to get pregnant, and potentially deadly ectopic pregnancy .

Men rarely have health problems linked to chlamydia. Infection sometimes spreads to the tube that carries sperm from the testicles, causing pain and fever. Rarely, chlamydia can prevent a man from being able to have children.

What Happens If Chlamydia Isn’t Treated

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Only some people who have chlamydia will have complications. If chlamydia is treated early, its unlikely to cause any long-term problems. But, without proper treatment, the infection can spread to other parts of the body. The more times you have chlamydia the more likely you are to get complications.

  • If you have a vulva, chlamydia can spread to other reproductive organs causing pelvic inflammatory disease . This can lead to long-term pelvic pain, blocked fallopian tubes, infertility and ectopic pregnancy .
  • In people with a vulva, chlamydia can also cause pain and inflammation around the liver, though this is rare. This usually gets better with the correct antibiotic treatment.
  • If you have a penis, chlamydia can lead to infection in the testicles. If this isnt treated, theres a possibility it could affect your fertility but more research is needed to understand how likely this is.
  • Rarely, chlamydia can lead to inflammation of the joints. This is known as Sexually Acquired Reactive Arthritis and is sometimes accompanied by inflammation of the urethra and the eye. This is more likely to occur in people with a penis than people with a vulva.

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Other Complications Of Untreated Chlamydia In All People

  • Conjunctivitis, spread by touching the infected area and then touching the hand to the eye
  • Inflammation of the mucous membrane of the rectum , if the chlamydia is from anal sex
  • Varied symptoms, such as joint and eye inflammation, caused by bacterial infection
  • Lymphogranuloma venereum, or LGV. This is caused by a type of chlamydia that is usually rare in Canada and the United States, but it is becoming more common in men who have sex with men. It causes open sores in the genital area, headache, fever, fatigue, and swelling of the lymph nodes in the groin. It also causes proctitis in people who get chlamydia through anal sex.

Chances Of Getting An Std From A One

The chances of getting an STD from a one-night stand depend on whether it was protected or unprotected sex. The chances of getting an STD from one unprotected encounter with a partner who is infected with syphilis, gonorrhea, or chlamydia are about 30 percent. Since these infections can lead to serious health concerns if not treated promptly, its important to understand the risk that unprotected sex poses. To reduce the risk of transmission, always use a reliable form of sexual protection like latex condoms.

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How Can You Get Rid Of Chlamydia

If your chlamydia test comes back positive, you may be wondering how to get chlamydia treated. Itâs important to discuss treatment options with your healthcare provider. Most likely, you will be treated for chlamydia with oral antibiotics. With treatment, infections often clear up in one to two weeks.

Even if your symptoms resolve sooner, however, itâs very important to complete your healthcare providerâs entire course of prescribed antibiotics. Otherwise, the infection may not be completely eliminated and you could be at risk for reinfection. You could also still pass chlamydia to a partner if you donât complete the recommended course of antibiotics.

Finally, as part of your treatment for chlamydia, connect with any sexual partners you may have unintentionally exposed to this infection. Your healthcare provider may also recommend antibiotics for your partner. This is a key part of chlamydia treatment, since it can help prevent reinfection when you resume sexual intercourse.

Chlamydia is a potentially harmful infection, but fortunately, itâs easy to test for. Itâs also simple to treat when you have a confirmed diagnosis. The important thing is stay informed and know your statusâsomething you can do from the privacy and comfort of home with our STD Test for women.

References

1. Overview: Chlamydia. National Health Service. URL. Accessed March 27, 2020.

2. Chlamydia – CDC Fact Sheet. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. URL. Accessed March 27, 2020.

How Do You Treat Chlamydia

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Chlamydia can be easily cured with antibiotics prescribed by a healthcare provider.

It is important to complete the full treatment, as prescribed by your healthcare provider, even if symptoms go away sooner. The infection stays in your body until you finish the antibiotics. Also, do not share your medicine with anyone or take someone elses.

Some healthcare providers may give a separate dose of antibiotics for your partner so you do not re-infect each other or anyone else. Do not have sex until you have finished treatment.

Get tested again in 3-4 months to make sure the infection is gone and you were not re-exposed.

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Chlamydia In The Rectum Throat Or Eyes

Chlamydia can also infect:

  • the rectum if you have unprotected anal sex this can cause discomfort and discharge from your rectum
  • the throat if you have unprotected oral sex this is uncommon and usually causes no symptoms
  • the eyes if they come into contact with infected semen or vaginal fluid this can cause eye redness, pain and discharge

What’s The Treatment For Chlamydia

Chlamydia is treated with antibiotics. If you take the treatment according to instructions, its over 95% effective at treating chlamydia.

  • Youll be given a course of antibiotics for 3 or 7 days or sometimes up to two weeks.
  • If theres a high chance you have chlamydia, treatment may be started before the results of the test are back. Youll always be given treatment if a sexual partner is found to have chlamydia.
  • You may also need other treatment if complications have occurred.
  • Tell the doctor or nurse if youre pregnant, or think you might be, or youre breastfeeding. This may affect the type of antibiotic youre given.
  • Complementary therapies cant cure chlamydia.

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When Should Someone Seek Medical Care For Chlamydia

The most urgent time to seek medical care for a chlamydial infection is when an individual is pregnant and has had recent sexual exposure to an infected individual and/or has developed early symptoms of a chlamydial infection. Additionally, if individuals are experiencing any symptoms of chlamydial infections, they should seek medical care quickly. Sexual partners should be notified if they have had recent contact with an infected individual.

Patients with gonorrhea have a 30%-50% chance of being coinfected with chlamydia. However, the reverse is not true. Patients with chlamydial infections have a less than 1% chance of being coinfected with Neisseria gonorrhoeae.

How Common Is Chlamydia

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CDC estimates that there were four million chlamydial infections in 2018.3 Chlamydia is also the most frequently reported bacterial sexually transmitted infection in the United States.4 However, a large number of cases are not reported because most people with chlamydia are asymptomatic and do not seek testing. Chlamydia is most common among young people. Two-thirds of new chlamydial infections occur among youth aged 15-24 years.3 It is estimated that 1 in 20 sexually active young women aged 14-24 years has chlamydia.5

Disparities persist among racial and ethnic minority groups. In 2019, reported chlamydia rates for African Americans/Blacks were nearly six times that of Whites.4 Chlamydia is also common among gay, bisexual, and other men who have sex with men . Among MSM screened for rectal chlamydial infection, positivity has ranged from 3.0% to 10.5%.6,7 Among MSM screened for pharyngeal chlamydial infection, positivity has ranged from 0.5% to 2.3%.7.8

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Chlamydia Treatment For Women

Chlamydia can be easily cured with antibiotic therapy. Antibiotics may be given as a single dose or a 7-day course. Women should abstain from sexual intercourse during the 7-day course of antibiotics or for 7 days after the single dose treatment to avoid spreading the infection to others.

Does Chlamydia Cause Cervical Cancer

No, chlamydia doesn’t cause cervical cancer.

It’s possible to get a sexually transmitted infection by having sex with someone who has an STI, even if they have no symptoms.

The following measures will help protect you from most STIs including chlamydia, gonorrhoea and HIV.

If you have an STI, they’ll also help prevent you from passing it on to someone:

  • Use condoms every time you have vaginal or anal sex.
  • If you have oral sex , use a condom to cover the penis, or a dam to cover the vulva or anus.
  • Avoid sharing sex toys. If you do share them, wash them or cover them with a new condom before anyone else uses them.

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More About Pelvic Inflammatory Disease

For women, one of the most serious complications from untreated chlamydia is pelvic inflammatory disease .

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, between 1020% of women with untreated chlamydia and gonorrhea infections may develop PID. And 1 in 8 women with a history of PID experience difficulties getting pregnant. PID can also cause ectopic pregnancy and chronic pelvic pain.

Like chlamydia, it is possible for a woman to have PID and not have any symptoms, or have symptoms too mild to notice, for an unknown period of time. If symptoms do occur, they could include:

  • Dull pain or tenderness in the lower abdomen
  • Burning or pain when you urinate
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Increased or changed vaginal discharge
  • Pain during sex

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