Chlamydia is a bacterial infection which can live in the urethra, throat (for those giving oral sex), rectum (for those receiving anal sex) and vagina (in women). It is highly contagious and easily spread during sex. It is possible to have chlamydia in more than one location. So if you had an infection in your throat, your urine sample could be negative if you did not have an infection in the urethra. However, the same one dose of medication will clear all the infections.
Chlamydia does not go away on its own. You must take antibiotics to get rid of it. In most cases there is a single dose pill to take, however the exact medication will be prescribed by your doctor and may be different in different circumstances. For example if you have had allergies to antibiotics in the past or are pregnant. Most people with chlamydia do not have any symptoms, so the only way to know is to get tested.
There are two main concerns with chlamydia: infertility and pain caused by an untreated and longer term infection. The quicker that chlamydia is found and treated, the less damage it can do to you and your partners health.
Infertility caused by Chlamydia is a big problem for women, the infection can cause scarring in the Fallopian Tubes which can block them and mean that the egg and sperm have a reduced chance of meeting. The infection is less reported in men, it is a significant issue as it can reduce the production of sperm (by up to 80%) and cause sperm fragmentation – which means that the long tail of sperm may break and the genetic material of the sperm is not as tightly packed.
Untreated chlamydia infections can also cause NSU – Non specific urethritis in men, which means that you may experience pain in the genital region, discomfort when urinating and/ or having sex. This can happen even if there are no symptoms in the early stages of infection.
So public health are concerned about chlamydia infections because of the effect if can have on fertility. This can damage individuals mental health and well being, and cost thousands of pounds in fertility treatment. Preventing the infection at an early stage is the key to reducing these later issues. Public health also want to protect against the costs of treating NSU in the future.
Men who do not want to have children should be worried about chlamydia, although there may be no impact on them if their fertility is compromised and they do not develop and long term painful issues, they can pass the infection on to new partners who may not make the same life choices. So if this is your situation, you do need to be altruistic and unselfish to do your bit to help some people who you or your partners choose to have sex with in the future to enjoy good health.
If you are worried about chlamydia, then Better2Know can help you to get tested all over the UK, we need a simple urine or swab sample, and will get your results to you quickly. We have instant Chlamydia testing in London, Manchester, Belfast, Portsmouth, Sheffield, Liverpool and Cheltenham.
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