What Do I Need to Know?
In the US, chlamydia is the most common sexually transmitted infection. It is present on college campuses, including Alfred University. It is passed from person to person with intimate contact including sexual intercourse, oral contact or anal contact. Symptoms after exposure can take 2 weeks to 1 month to appear, or an individual can be asymptomatic. Thus, it is important to undergo regular testing. Here are some facts about symptoms:
Symptoms in Women
- 90% asymptomatic
- burning urination
- frequent urination
- abnormal vaginal discharge or itching
- lower abdominal pain, especially during intercourse
- spotting after sex or between periods
Symptoms in Men
- 70% asymptomatic
- rectal pain
- pain/swelling in testicles or scrotum
- painful ejaculation
- discharge from the penis
- burning urination
- irritation/itching at penile opening
Why is it Important to Treat Chlamydia?
Untreated chlamydia can cause serious, permanent damage to a woman’s reproductive system. This may lead to difficulty with pregnancy or inability to become pregnant in the future. Pelvic inflammatory disease (PID) is another risk for women with untreated chlamydia. Symptoms of PID include abdominal/pelvic pain that can be long term.
How Can Chlamydia Be Prevented?
If one is sexually active, it is important to keep in mind a few factors in an effort to reduce risks:
- A long term, mutually monogamous relationship with someone who has tested negative for STIs is an ideal situation for reducing risk
- Correct use of latex condoms every time there is sexual contact is important
- Chlamydia can be spread from male to female even without ejaculation
- Once treated for chlamydia once, there is no natural immunity... re-infection is common
What is Involved in Testing & Treatment?
Testing and treatment is available at the Alfred University Health Center in a confidential and compassionate manner. Depending on history, samples can be obtained (often via self-swab) from the vagina, rectum, and/or throat. For males, a urine sample can be obtained. Treatment is available with use of antibiotics. In some cases the antibiotic is a one-time dose, in others it’s a daily dose for 7-10 days. In either case, it is imperative to refrain from ANY form of sexual contact for at least a week to prevent reinfection. Partners should be informed of the exposure and ideally treated simultaneously. Re-testing can be considered after three months to ensure treatment was effective. Chlamydia is treatable! If you have any concerns about your symptoms or partner(s), please seek advice and/or testing through the health center.
For even more info refer to the CDC Fact Sheet on Chlamydia