Chlamydia is the most common sexually transmitted disease (STD) in the United States, and it’s on the rise, especially among young women. Usually, women don’t show any symptoms when they have chlamydia, but without treatment, it can lead to pelvic inflammatory disease (PID), which can cause chronic pain, infertility, and ectopic pregnancy.
Other potential consequences of untreated chlamydia include:
- Easier and more widespread transmission of HIV
- Passing the infection to your baby during delivery (for women)
- Inflammation of the urethra and the cervix
- Endometritis, the inflammation of the lining of the uterus
- Pelvic infection
- Liver inflammation
There are steps you can take to prevent contracting this STD, regardless of your gender. Taking preventive measures to protect yourself from chlamydia will protect you from other STDs as well.
Communication is key
If you’re a parent, talk to your kids about chlamydia and other STDs. It’s important to provide accurate information clearly, without trying to scare them. Explain the risks as well as preventive measures.
If you’re at risk of contracting chlamydia, talk to your sexual partner(s) openly about STDs and protection before you engage in sexual contact. Ask if your partner has been screened recently, and whether or not they’re at risk for chlamydia or other STDs.
Limit sexual contact
One way to reduce your risk of contracting chlamydia and other STDs is to limit sexual contact to one partner with whom you’re in a long-term relationship. In such relationships, there’s likely to be more trust, which makes it easier to discuss a topic that has the potential for discomfort.
The only way to be absolutely, 100% certain you won’t contract chlamydia is to not have sex of any kind with anyone. Since that isn’t a realistic solution for most people, choosing to have sex with someone who you know has been screened and who you’re comfortable enough with to discuss risk and protection is a good way to avoid the possibility of chlamydia.
One of the most well-known and proven methods for reducing the spread of chlamydia and other STDs is the use of condoms. Even if you use another form of birth control, condom use provides protection against infection. Condoms are one of the only forms of birth control that also protects against the spread of STDs.
Get screened regularly
About half of all chlamydia diagnoses are in young women, many of whom have no symptoms. This means that it’s essential for young women to get regular screenings.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that women 25 years old or younger who are sexually active get an annual chlamydia screening. If you’re older than 25 years and you’re at a higher risk of infection — because you have multiple sexual partners, for instance — you should also have an annual screening.
You’re a unique individual facing specific circumstances. If you have questions about your risk, schedule an appointment with your healthcare provider. Although the number of cases of chlamydia is on the rise, you can protect yourself from contracting it by clear communication, limiting your sexual contact to monogamous relationships, condom use, and regular screenings.
Take the proper precautions for preventing chlamydia and other STDs by contacting River Oaks ER for an STD screening. We’re open 24/7 for your convenience and peace of mind.