Why you should get tested for Chlamydia infection even if you don’t have any Symptoms?
It is a well-known fact that a number of people engage in unprotected sex and is why there is an increasing prevalence of sexually transmitted diseases worldwide. In fact, the Office of Women’s Health reported that over 19 million new STD cases are diagnosed in the United States every year!
Unfortunately, many of the people who engage in unprotected sex fail to get tested on time to get immediate attention. What is more alarming is that there are some sexually transmitted infections like Chlamydia, which have silent symptoms. Chlamydia generally has minimal to no symptoms.
Sadly enough women carry the most burden of the Chlamydia infection. If left untreated, women may suffer the following complications:
- Pelvic Inflammatory Disease (PID)
- Ectopic Pregnancy
- Salpingitis or Inflammation of the Fallopian tubes
- Endometritis or Infection of the Uterus
- Tubal Factor Infertility
For men, the most common complication is Urethritis or inflammation of the Urethra.
Why do you need to get tested?
Genital Chlamydia is a common bacterial infection caused by Chlamydia trachomatis which is transmitted through unprotected sex. It is the most common sexually transmitted disease worldwide. This is a serious infection that should not be taken for granted.
Chlamydia is associated with increased risk of acquiring HIV infection and is also a risk factor for cervical cancer. Thus, early detection and treatment is crucial to prevent the spread of infection and other sequelae.
Red Flags of Genital Chlamydia
Ironically, people suffering from Chlamydia have misleading symptoms. In fact, 70% to 80% of infected women and 50% of men with Chlamydia infection have no symptoms. Women with uncomplicated Chlamydia infection usually have mucoid and odorless vaginal discharge without any pruritis or itchiness in the genital area. More so, some women may have previous history of prolonged menstrual cycle, inter-menstrual bleeding, and severe pain in the abdomen with very high fiver.
Detection of Chlamydia Infection
The asymptomatic nature of Chlamydia infection requires a set of reliable and sensitive laboratory tests to detect any infection. The good news is that it is no longer difficult to diagnose this infection. The advances in the screening and diagnostic modalities make the detection of infection fast and easy. As a matter of fact, Chlamydia infection can now be detected through urine sample instead of a painful vaginal swab and the screening methods are cost-effective that you don’t have to spend a lot to get tested.
Vaginal Swab and Urine Sample
Chlamydia trachomatis can easily be collected through vaginal, rectal, and urethral swab. It can also be taken from first catch urine sample or getting a sample from the first urination in the morning.
Isolating the organism is the gold standard for the diagnosis of Chlamydia infection. Although, this method is very accurate, it is expensive and time-consuming.
Cytology is a cost-effective, readily available and simple to use diagnostic test. The specimens are assessed using a microscope.
Enzyme Linked Immunosorbent Assay or ELISA is available and sold commercially as kits. This test is used for laboratories without cell culture access.
Direct Fluorescent Test
This test uses an antibody staining to examine the specimen. DFA is said to be more sensitive in cell culture for detecting tubal and endometrial specimen.
The molecular methods includes DNA probe or PACE (Probe Assay Chemiluminescence Enhanced) and NAAT or Nucleic Acid Amplification Technology. These methods are more advanced techniques in detecting Chlamydia infection, although these tests are expensive.
There are many other tests used for Chlamydia infection. But since the traditional methods are already useful to detect Chlamydia infection, these tests are seldom used. But if required, other tests include:
- Rapid Tests
- Non-specific tests like Leukocyte esterase tests
When to get tested for Chlamydia?
The Centers for Disease and Control Prevention or CDC recommends yearly testing for women who are:
- Sexually active woman younger than 25 years old
- Older women with new or multiple sex partners
- Having sex partner who has diagnosed with sexually transmitted infection
CDC also recommends the following to get tested for Chlamydia infection:
- Men who have sex with men
- Pregnant women
Get Tested Before it’s Too Late
These days getting tested for sexually transmitted diseases is no longer difficult, there are many affordable lab tests that you can order online without doctor’s visit and get tested from your most trusted CLIA certified laboratories in the US like Labcorp and Quest Diagnostics. The good thing about ordering online is that you have the option to choose the laboratory provider with the most competitive prices and also get tested anonymously.
Don’t wait for the symptoms to appear. Even if you feel nothing at all, when you have the risk factors, you should take the initiative to get tested. Getting an update on your current health status is fast and easy get tested now.