Why does screening for chlamydia matter?

Chlamydia and its effects

Chlamydia trachomatis is the bacteria responsible for one of the most frequently diagnosed sexually transmitted diseases. In fact, chlamydia is the number one bacterial infection amongst all STIs. Although very common, infections caused by chlamydia are to be taken seriously as they are highly contagious and pose very real medical risks when left untreated.

For women, chlamydia may lead to a severe pelvic infection or may cause an ectopic pregnancy (pregnancy outside the womb), and even lead to infertility. Men sometimes experience discharge from the penis and painful urination. Chlamydia can also, in rare cases, cause prostatitis or epididymitis that can cause infertility.

Did you know …?

  • The word chlamydia comes from the ancient Greek word khlamúda, referring to a short cloak. Scientists who identified the bacteria observed that it would attach itself to healthy cells much like a cape.
  • Chlamydia is most often diagnosed in women, yet it largely affects both sexes at the same rates. It is believed that because the infection is more likely to cause serious and permanent medical consequences in women, they are statistically over-represented in numbers.
  • Positive diagnoses for chlamydia from throat swabs are becoming more and more common. Talk with your doctor or nurse to determine if this specific test is pertinent for you.

Transmission

Causes and symptoms of chlamydia

40 to 70% of people infected with chlamydia show no symptoms at all. Even in the absence of symptoms, chlamydia is still contagious. Symptoms often appear three to ten days after contact, and they might be intermittent. In some cases, a long period of time can elapse before symptoms are noticed. When no symptoms are present, screening should be undergone around three weeks after a contact that might have been at risk. However, new testing techniques allow for positive results as soon as two days after a contact.

Diagnosis

How is chlamydia screened?

It is a urine sample for men and a vaginal or cervical swab for women. Tests are extremely precise and isolate the bacteria very efficiently. Chlamydia and gonorrhea are often screened together as they share similar modes of transmission and can occur simultaneously. Chlamydia can be found in the urethra, in the cervix, anus or throat, depending on the type of contact. It is also possible to have conjunctivitis caused by chlamydia. We make sure to pay attention to your specific situation when screening for chlamydia so that your screening reflects your specific risk factors and brings you complete peace of mind.

In case of a positive result, an antibiotic treatment will be prescribed and a follow-up test will be scheduled to ensure the infection has been completely eradicated.

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