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Chlamydia Testing

Chlamydia is a common sexually transmitted disease (STD) caused by a bacterial infection. If you have symptoms of chlamydia or have had sexual contact with someone with chlamydia, it’s crucial to get a chlamydia test. Chlamydia is easily treated with antibiotics, but failure to treat it can lead to a severe infection, which can cause serious symptoms.

According to the CDC, chlamydia is the most frequently reported sexually transmitted infection (STI) in the United States, with roughly four million cases every year. The exact number of chlamydia cases in the United States is difficult to determine, as many people with chlamydia have no symptoms and do not seek testing or treatment.

Chlamydia mostly affects young people. According to CDC data, two-thirds of new cases occur in people under 24 years of age, and one out of every 20 sexually active women under the age of 24 has had chlamydia.

The CDC reports that symptoms of chlamydia can often be mild and easy to overlook. Symptoms may include pelvic pain and painful urination. In women, symptoms can also include vaginal discharge, painful intercourse, and bleeding between menstrual periods. A chlamydia infection can also lead to pelvic inflammatory disease and ectopic pregnancy.

Who should get a chlamydia test?

The CDC recommends that anyone with genital discharge, unusual genital sores or a rash, or a burning sensation when peeing should refrain from having sex until they can see a doctor and be tested for chlamydia.

Because chlamydia often has no symptoms, the CDC also recommends that sexually active women younger than 25 should also have a chlamydia test annually. Women older than 25 should also be tested for chlamydia regularly if they have certain risk factors, such as new or multiple sexual partners. Women should also get a chlamydia test if they are pregnant.

Regular chlamydia testing is also recommended for anyone with HIV or for men who have sex with men.

The CDC reccomends that anyone who has had sexual contact with someone who has an STD should also be tested for STDs. Different STDs require different tests; no one test can check for all STDs. Some may require a blood test, while others can be tested through urine. Therefore, it’s important to talk to any sexual partners about STDs and reduce your risk when possible. Avoid sexual contact with anyone who has been diagnosed with an STD, and practice safer sex by using condoms. Not using a condom regularly or properly can also increase your risk of chlamydia and other STDs.

How to get a chlamydia test

Testing for chlamydia is a fairly simple process. If you have a primary care doctor or gynecologist, call their office to make an appointment. If you do not have a doctor, you can try making an appointment with an urgent care facility or using the Solv directory to find a doctor who does chlamydia testing near you.

In many cases, you can make a same-day or next-day appointment, so you don’t have to wait any longer than necessary for your chlamydia test results.

What to expect during a chlamydia test

There are two chlamydia tests: a urine test and a swab test. 

For a urine test, your healthcare provider will ask you to use a sterile cup to collect urine from the first part of your urine stream. This process, known as a first-catch urine sample, is important for collecting urine that contains the highest number of bacterial organisms. A first-catch urine sample may be different from the type of urine sample you are asked to provide at a routine doctor’s appointment or annual exam, so be sure to follow the instructions carefully.

A chlamydia test can be done at any time of day. It can often be helpful to to avoid using the restroom for at least two hours before your doctor’s appointment so that you will be able to provide enough urine.

Chlamydia can also be detected through a swab sample. With a swab test, your doctor or nurse will use a swab to collect cells from the genital area. For women, this can be done during a routine Pap test. If you prefer, you may ask your doctor if you can do the swab test yourself.

For men, a slim swab may be inserted into the end of the penis. In some cases, a swab may be taken from the anus.

Depending on where you are tested, you may be able to receive your chlamydia test results the same day. According to MedlinePlus, some chlamydia tests can provide results in as little as 90 minutes. However, some clinics or doctor’s offices will need to send the sample to a lab, which means the results may take a few days.

Testing positive for chlamydia

If you test positive for chlamydia, your doctor will typically prescribe antibiotics. It’s important to begin treatment right away and to take all of your prescribed medication, even if you feel better or your symptoms go away.

According to the CDC, chlamydia infections usually resolve within one to two weeks. Refrain from sexual activity during that time. Talk to any sexual partners and let them know you have tested positive for chlamydia. They may also need to be treated, even if they aren’t experiencing any symptoms. Without proper treatment, an infection can be passed back and forth between partners repeatedly.

After finishing treatment, the CDC recommends that you be tested for chlamydia again in about three months. After the infection has cleared, you can still get chlamydia again. Continue practicing safe sex and taking other necessary precautions. If your symptoms return, it is recommended that you get another chlamydia test.

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Sources

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