It’s time we got into the nitty gritty of things. We’ve talked protection, circumstance, contraction. However, there’s so much more to be covered when it comes to sexually transmitted infections. Chlamydia is arguably the most common STD in the United States. Some statistics seem to show that HPV is the most common, but for this sake, we’ll just say they’re tied. Chlamydia runs rampant on college campuses, is very easily contracted, but thankfully, can easily be avoided with a few steps, too.
So. What is chlamydia? Excellent question. The best way to avoid all this is to understand it. Chlamydia is a sexually transmitted infection which is caused by a bacteria passed through sexual contact. It can be contracted through the penis, vagina, cervix, anus, urethra, eye or throat. So, as with a lot of STD’s, you need to be careful with a lot more than just your genitals. It is mainly spread from vaginal or anal contact. It is more rare that it is spread during oral contact or digital contact with your eyes. However, it can happen. Which is why we take the steps towards being super safe.
There’s no special or certain way to prevent chlamydia, just the basics of being sexually safe. Where condoms on penises, or female condoms if you so choose. If performing oral sex, use a barrier such as a dental dam. Always use clean hands, clean mouths, clean genitals. And the most important step to protection, getting tested. Chlamydia is the most common STD for men & women under 25. It’s not kidding around. If you’re sexually active, it’s recommended that you get tested once a year. It’s easy, and can really save you if needed. Chlamydia often has no symptoms, so it’s easy to be living with it and not know. Symptoms could include a burning sensation while peeing for both men & women. Women may experience abdominal pain, spotting, vaginal discharge, swelling inside the vagina or anus, or the urge to pee more often. Men could experience a discharge from the penis, swollen or tender testicles, or swelling around the anus. However, a lot of these symptoms may never show up. If they do, it could take between 7-10 days for any symptoms to start showing. That’s why it’s important to talk to your sexual partner, get tested, and get treatment if needed. Yes, chlamydia is a very treatable infection.
Chlamydia can be cleared up by taking antibiotics. Some require just one dose, others over the course of a week. You and your partner must be treated before either of you can have sex again. You can be reinfected with chlamydia, it’s not like the chicken pox or anything like that. Once you’ve gotten it, it’s still just as easy to get it again. If you only treat yourself and not your partner because they weren’t tested for whatever reason, you can get reinfected just as soon as you come home from a clinic. So, take all of the antibiotics you are prescribed, make sure your partner does too. Wait until the infection has cleared up to have sex again, and then get tested again after 3 months to make sure the infection is gone.
Chlamydia is extremely common but also extremely preventable. With ample communication, supplies for safety, and awareness, avoiding chlamydia or any STD should be a walk in the park. Pay attention to your bodies, pay attention to your partners, please be safe. If you should need to get tested for Chlamydia, you can do this at your primary doctor, or at a clinic such as Planned Parenthood.
Have fun and be safe!
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