Chlamydia – the Most Common Sexually Transmitted Disease
As recent statistics indicate, chlamydia is the most common sexually transmitted infection in the US. The disease is caused by bacteria known as chlamydia trachomatis. According to research by the US Centers of Disease Control and Prevention, the rate of chlamydia infections has recently reached unprecedented high levels with women increasingly passing the infection to their unborn babies. There was a 6% increase in reported cases in 2016 as compared to 2015. Young people who are below 24 years of age account for about two-thirds of the cases.
It's worth noting that those who have active chlamydia may not be aware of it because of lack of symptoms. This means it can end up permanently damaging the fallopian tube and lead to infertility before the disease is diagnosed.
In fact, around 80% of women with chlamydia have very mild or no symptoms at all. Some of the common ones include burning sensation during urination, vaginal discharge, pain during sex, abnormal vaginal bleeding during periods.
Men affected by untreated chlamydia can experience discharge from the penis, swelling and pain in the testicles.
It goes without saying that people who do not have any symptoms pass the infection just as easily as those with notable symptoms.
A bit of statistics
– About 2.8 million Americans get chlamydia each year.
– Up to 45 percent of infected men and 70 percent of infected women do not have any symptoms.
– It’s believed that 1 out of 15 sexually active girls has an active chlamydia infection.
– African-Americans are statistically more likely to suffer from the disease.
– Chlamydia can stay active in newborn children who got the infection from their mother for up to 1 year.
The importance of early detection and treatment
According to the US Preventive Services Task Force (PSTF), chlamydia screening should be done in all women and men who lead an active sex life. Chlamydia screening does not necessarily require a full pelvic examination; a urine test for chlamydia is usually enough. Tests should also be done on pregnant women to prevent passing the infection to newborns.
While the best way to prevent this infection is to practice safe sex, once you are infected you should seek immediate medical attention to prevent the risk of developing complications such as Pelvic Inflammatory Disease (PID). If chlamydia left untreated, over 30% of women usually develop PID.