Being Exposed To Another Std
Being successfully treated for chlamydia, gonorrhea, or another STD does not protect you from other STDs In fact, many people become infected with STDs over and over again because they continue to have unprotected sex with partners who have untreated STDs.
If youâve been treated for an STD and donât want to get another one, the best thing that you can do is change your behaviors to decrease your risk. That means consistently practicing safe sex and always talking to new partners about STD risk before having sex.
How Common Is Chlamydia
Chlamydia is the most common STI caused by bacteria. Nearly 2 million cases of chlamydia were reported to the CDC in 2019. The number of infections is likely even higher. When compared to previous years, 2019 infection rates increased among people of all genders, all races and ethnicities, and in every region of the U.S. Most cases of chlamydia are asymptomatic, which means there are no signs or symptoms of an infection. Many of these cases likely go unreported.
Certain demographic characteristics may make you more likely to get diagnosed with chlamydia. Youre more likely to get diagnosed if youre:
- A teen or young adult aged 15 to 24. More than half of all diagnosed chlamydia cases in the U.S. occur in this age group.
- A cisgender woman aged 15 to 24. Young women in this age group are targeted for chlamydia screenings, and the rate of infection among those who are tested is high.
- A man who has sex with men . Chlamydia infections disproportionately affect men who have sex with men.
- Black and non-Hispanic. Chlamydia infections disproportionately affect non-Hispanic Black populations.
If I Have Chlamydia Am I At Risk Of Other Sexually Transmitted Infections
Yes. By definition, having unprotected sex means risk of STI. As well as chlamydia, there are also genital warts, genital herpes, gonorrhoea, HIV, pubic lice, and syphilis. Like with chlamydia, gonorrhoea may well cause no symptoms, so being tested is the only way to really know. This can be done at your local sexual health clinic.
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What Can Happen If Chlamydia Isnt Treated
Untreated chlamydia can put your health at risk. Make an appointment with your provider immediately if you notice any symptoms of chlamydia, and get regular STI screenings to avoid complications later.
Complications of chlamydia for people with vaginas
Untreated chlamydia can cause:
- Pelvic inflammatory disease . PID is a serious condition that requires hospitalization. It can occur when an untreated STI, like chlamydia, damages your reproductive organs. PID can lead to infertility and chronic pelvic pain. It can also cause an ectopic pregnancy, which is life-threatening for the fetus and potentially deadly for the mother or gestational parent, too.
- Pregnancy complications. An untreated infection can lead to pre-term delivery. Also, if youre pregnant and have chlamydia, you can pass the infection on to your newborn. Babies born with chlamydia may have pneumonia or conjunctivitis that could lead to blindness if not treated.
Complications of chlamydia for people with penises
Untreated chlamydia can cause:
- Epididymitis. Infection can spread to the testicles and the tube that carries sperm to your testicles , causing symptoms like pain, swelling and tenderness in your testicles.
- Reduced fertility. Chlamydia can harm your sperm, negatively impacting your ability to conceive.
Complications of chlamydia that can affect all genders
Untreated chlamydia can:
How Is Chlamydia Diagnosed
Self-collected vaginal swab testing is available and many women find this screening strategy highly acceptable.
- Geisler WM, Uniyal A, Lee JY, et al. Azithromycin versus Doxycycline for Urogenital Chlamydia trachomatis Infection. N Engl J Med. 2015 373:2512-2521. doi:10.1056/NEJMoa1502599
- Workowski, K, Bolan G. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Sexually Transmitted Diseases Treatment Guidelines, 2015. Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.
- WHO Guidelines for the Treatment of Chlamydia trachomatis. Geneva: World Health Organization 2016. 4, RECOMMENDATIONS FOR TREATMENT OF CHLAMYDIAL INFECTIONS. Available from:
- Chlamydia Treatment and Care. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention https://www.cdc.gov/std/chlamydia/treatment.htm
- Chlamydia Treatment Information Sheet. Wisconsin Department of Health Services.
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Does Your Partner Need To Get Treated Too
If you have a sexual partner, or if youve recently had sex with someone, talk with them about your chlamydia diagnosis. Theyll need to get tested and treated, too.
If your sexual partner doesnt seek treatment, theres a risk that they can transmit it back to you, even after your infection has been cured.
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Information Before Taking The Medicine
The medicine is very safe. However do not take if any of the following are true:
- you are female and have abdominal pain, pain during sex, vomiting, or fever
- you are male and have pain or swelling in the testicles or fever
- you have ever had a bad reaction, rash, breathing problems or allergic reaction after taking azithromycin or other antibiotics. People who are allergic to some antibiotics may be allergic to other types. If you do have allergies to antibiotics, you should check with your doctor before taking this medicine
- you have a serious long-term illness, such as kidney, heart or liver disease
- you are currently taking another prescription medication, including medicine for diabetes.
If any of these circumstances exist, or if you are not sure, do not take the azithromycin. Instead you should talk to your doctor as soon as possible. Your doctor will do some tests and find the best treatment for you.
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How Long Does Azithromycin Take To Cure Chlamydia
It usually takes approximately 7 days for azithromycin to cure chlamydia. However, it can take up to 2 weeks for the infection to go away completely.
Avoid having sex during treatment or until the infection has cleared. Youll want to make sure its completely cured, or else youll risk passing it to someone else.
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What Are The Treatments For Chlamydia
If you are diagnosed with chlamydia, your doctor will prescribe oral antibiotics. A single dose of azithromycin or taking doxycycline twice daily for 7 to 14 days are the most common treatments and are the same for those with or without HIV.
With treatment, the infection should clear up in about a week. Do not have sex for at least 7 days until you have taken all of your medication, and do not stop taking the antibiotics even if you feel better.
Your doctor will also recommend that your partner be treated as well to prevent reinfection and further spread of the disease.
Women with serious infections, such as pelvic inflammatory disease, may require a longer course of antibiotics or hospitalization for intravenous antibiotics. Some severe pelvic infections may require surgery in addition to antibiotic therapy.
Make sure you get retested after three months to be certain the infection is gone. Do this even if your partner has been treated and appears to be infection free.
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Getting Treated For Chlamydia And Often Gonorrhea
If you have your own doctor, he will prescribe the antibiotics you need to treat chlamydia. If you dont have your own doctor, you can often find free or low-cost care at either a Planned Parenthood site or a community health clinic.
Listen carefully to the instructions for taking the medicine that you are given by the doctor or other healthcare provider, and follow them closely.
Ask questions if you dont understand something. Also, if you have other questions as you take your medicine, you can always call the pharmacist for help. They are often easier to reach than the doctor.
If you test positive for chlamydia, your healthcare provider is likely to also recommend that you be treated for gonorrhea. This is because the cost of treating gonorrhea is less than the cost of testing for the infection.
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Treatment For Chlamydia Is Quick And Easy
Two antibiotics are most often used for treating chlamydia:
- Doxycycline If your doctor prescribes doxycycline, you will take one pill daily for a week. Though it costs somewhat more than azithromycin, its now the preferred treatment for chlamydia in the United States, due to growing antibiotic resistance to azithromycin.
- Azithromycin If prescribed azithromycin, youll likely take one gram at one time, says , deputy director of clinical services for public health with the Seattle and King County HIV/STD Program in Washington. That one gram comes as either two pills or four pills, she says. It is not expensive.
Antibiotics can also cure chlamydia in infants, who can get the infection from their mothers, and treatment is essential for them. Without treatment, infants infected with chlamydia can develop conjunctivitis, which can cause blindness, or pneumonia, which can be fatal.
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I Was Treated For Chlamydia When Can I Have Sex Again
You should not have sex again until you and your sex partner have completed treatment. If your doctor prescribes a single dose of medication, you should wait seven days after taking the medicine before having sex. If your doctor prescribes a medicine for you to take for seven days, you should wait until you have taken all of the doses before having sex.
Where Can I Get A Test
There are a number of services you can go to. Choose the one you feel most comfortable with.
A chlamydia test can be done at:
- a genitourinary medicine or sexual health clinic
- your general practice
- contraception and young peoples clinics
- some pharmacies.
Abortion clinics, antenatal services and some gynaecology services may also offer a chlamydia test.
In England, if youre a woman aged under 25 years old, you may be offered a chlamydia test as part of the National Chlamydia Screening Programme when you visit some service for other reasons, for example at a pharmacy or your GP.
The NCSP aims to identify people without symptoms to reduce the complications of untreated infection. If chlamydia is not treated, it can cause health complications, especially in women. Untreated chlamydia in women can cause pain in the pelvis, ectopic pregnancy and infertility .
If you are a woman aged under 25 years old and you are offered a chlamydia test as part of the NCSP you should consider taking it.
In many areas, free home self-sampling tests for chlamydia are available to order online. This is where you take your own sample and send it to be tested. See www.nhs.uk
Its also possible to buy a chlamydia test to do at home. The accuracy of these tests varies. Some types are very accurate when carried out according to the instructions, others can be less reliable. If you buy a testing kit make sure you get advice from a pharmacist or your doctor.
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When Will The Signs And Symptoms Go Away
You should notice an improvement quite quickly after having treatment.
- Discharge or pain when you urinate should improve within a week.
- Bleeding between periods or heavier periods should improve by your next period.
- Pelvic pain and pain in the testicles should start to improve quickly but may take up to two weeks to go away.
If you have pelvic pain or painful sex that doesnt improve, see your doctor or nurse as it may be necessary to have some further treatment or investigate other possible causes of the pain.
How Does Chlamydia Stay With You After You Take The Pill
If by taking the pill you mean the antibiotic, chlamydia is gone after treatment is completed. That is why it’s very important not to resume sex until the antibiotics are all gone. If you have symptoms, then also make sure your symptoms are gone too prior to resuming sex. Otherwise, once treatment is done, you should be clean again.
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What Happens If Chlamydia Is Left Untreated
If left untreated, chlamydia can lead to more serious health problems.
In people assigned female at birth, untreated chlamydia can cause pelvic inflammatory disease , a condition which can scar the fallopian tubes and lead to infertility.
Chlamydia can also be passed on to babies during birth if the parent has the infection while pregnant.
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Does Azithromycin Work For Chlamydia
Azithromycin works to treat genital chlamydia in both men and women by stopping the bacteria from multiplying.
That means that for every 100 people who take azithromycin to treat chlamydia, 97 will be cured and three will not be cured.
In order to effectively treat chlamydial infections, azithromycin should be taken as prescribed and until the dosage is completed.
Ending the medication early increases the chance that the bacteria will not be completely killed off.
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How Chlamydias Passed On
Chlamydia is usually passed from one person to another through sexual contact.
Chlamydia is most commonly spread through:
- sharing sex toys that arent washed or covered with a new condom each time theyre used.
It can be spread by giving or receiving oral sex with someone who has chlamydia. The risk can be lowered by using a condom or a dam to cover the genitals.
If youre pregnant its possible to pass chlamydia to the baby .
You cant get chlamydia from kissing, hugging, sharing baths or towels, swimming pools, toilet seats or from sharing cups, plates or cutlery.
How To Take The Medicine
- you should take these pills with food
- you should have 2 pills of azithromycin. Each pill contains 500g of the medicine. You should take both with water at the same time. You need to take 2 pills to be cured
- do not take antacids for 1 hour before or 2 hours after taking the azithromycin pills
- do not share or give this medicine to anyone else.
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Taking The Incorrect Medication
Keep in mind that your treatment can fail if youâre taking the wrong medication. You might be prescribed the wrong drugs due to syndromatic treatment, an efficient, but sometimes inaccurate treatment method in which patients are prescribed STD treatment based on symptoms, rather than testing. This is sometimes done in STD clinics when there is a concern that the patient might not come back for their test results.
And you could be taking the wrong medication if youâve acquired it on your own and chose the wrong onessuch as taking medication that was prescribed for a past STD you had, or for your partner, or for a friend.
Not all STDs are caused by the same pathogens . Different illnesses require different treatments.
Thatâs why itâs so important for your healthcare provider to correctly identify whatâs causing your infection. Thatâs also why you canât just take any random antibiotic and hope itâs going to work.
Why Is It Important To Treat Chlamydia
If left untreated chlamydia is unlikely to go away. It can be passed onto sexual partners and can cause serious harm. Women can get cervicitis or pelvic inflammatory disease. This can result in permanent damage to the fallopian tubes, which may lead to infertility or ectopic pregnancy. Chlamydia also can cause a reactive arthritis. Men can suffer with urethritis , this can spread to the contents of the scrotal sac – epididymis and testicles. This causes pain, and in severe cases infertility. Men can also get a reactive arthritis.
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How Is Chlamydia Spread
In nearly all cases chlamydia is transmitted through sexual contact.
- Chlamydia can also be spread through other types of sexual contact such as mutual masturbation, fingering or the use of sex toys.
- One simple way to protect yourself is by using a condom when engaging in sexual intercourse.
Another way of transmitting chlamydia is from mother to baby during birth. If this occurs, your baby may develop an eye or lung infection. This needs urgent treatment.
If you are sexually active, get regular STI checks. If you think you may have been exposed to chlamydia, see your doctor for an extra STI check.
How Long Does It Take To Show Up In The Throat
Symptoms of chlamydia in your throat are typically caused by having oral sex with someone whos contracted the infection.
Its much less common to notice throat symptoms, but they may still appear after a week or so, up to a few months or longer.
STI tests that look for chlamydia arent always done on the throat since its an area that does not carry the infection often. Ask your doctor for a throat swab or other chlamydia test if you think youve been exposed through oral sex.
Here are the most common symptoms of chlamydia in both people with penises and people with vulvas.
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