Sexually transmitted infections: Chlamydia

Chlamydia is one of the most common Sexually Transmitted Infection (STI) worldwide, yet, because of its asymptomatic nature, many people don’t know they are infected. If left untreated, it can lead to serious health complications. Fortunately, nowadays it’s easy to treat chlamydia. The first step is up to you – getting checked.

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Chlamydia is a genital infection with the bacteria chlamydia trachomatis and is one of the most common sexual transmitted infections (STI) worldwide. The European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) states that in 2013 there were nearly 400 000 reported cases of chlamydia in the Europe Union. In the USA, in 2014, there were about 1.4 million reported cases. This makes chlamydia the most common STI in both Europe and USA.

Chlamydia can spread through different ways. Unprotected vaginal, anal or oral sex are only some of them. It can also spread just by coming into contact with the genitals of an infected person, even if there is no penetration or ejaculation. Sharing sex toys without being properly washed or covered with a condom is also a risk behavior. You can also get infected by getting semen or vaginal fluids into your eye. Additionally, chlamydia can be passed on by pregnant women to their babies during birth, which can lead to serious health complications for the child.

Because it is often asymptomatic, sometimes for many years, in both women and men, many people are not aware they are infected with chlamydia. When people do develop symptoms, they may experience pain when urinating, unusual discharge from the vagina, penis or rectum. Additionally, women may experience abdominal pain, bleeding during or after sex and between periods. Men may feel some pain and swelling around the testicles.

Do you think you may have been at risk of getting chlamydia?

Chlamydia can be easily detected and treated with a short course regimen of antibiotics. Both test and treatment are very affordable. If left untreated, chlamydia can lead to serious complications like pelvic inflammatory disease (PID), inflammation of the testicles and infertility. If you fear you might have caught chlamydia and you’re in Portugal, Medical Port can help you get an appointment.

The World Health Organization reports that every year there are nearly 500 million new cases of curable STI’s (gonorrhea, chlamydia, syphilis and trichomoniasis). The burden of such diseases has a greater impact in lower-income countries. However in developed countries chlamydia infections are still on the rise and remain a public health concern.

Sources: NHS, WHO, ECDC

 

Better safe than sorry: you may want to consider an STD screening

Sexually transmitted infections (STIs), usually known as sexually transmitted diseases (STDs), are infections that spread mostly through sexual contact. The most common are chlamydia, gonorrhea, syphilis and trichomoniasis, but there are many more, like HIV and Hepatitis B.

a doctor holds a notebook. the text says "stds: when was the last time you got tested?"

Holidays mean fun and a needed relaxing period from a long work year. However health does not take a time out. The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that everyday over one million of STDs are acquired worldwide. A great part of STDs has mild or no symptoms. Thus, many people are not aware they are infected and contribute to the spreading unwittingly.

If left untreated, STDs can lead to other serious conditions, beyond the infections itself. For instance, gonorrhea and chlamydia are the main causes of pelvic inflammatory disease (PID) and infertility among women. In men, the most common consequence is an infection in the prostate, prostatitis, but can also lead to infertility.

Practicing safe sex, using male or female condoms is a great practice to reduce the risk of contracting an STD but does not eliminate it at 100%. If you are sexually active with multiple partners, you should check your status regularly. During your next check-up, ask to be also tested for STDs.

We will be talking more about STDs throughout the month of August. Stay tuned and remember that prevention is the key!