Chlamydia is a sexually transmitted disease that is spread by sexual contact including vaginal, rectal and oral contact with an infected person. It is caused by Chlamydia trachomatis bacterium. It is most prevalent in individuals with high risk sexual behavior and can be spread through unprotected sex with an infected partner.
Chlamydia is mostly left undiagnosed and consequently untreated as most of the times, it is asymptomatic and people are not aware that they are suffering from a sexually transmitted disease. Even if they have some minor symptoms of Chlamydia, they confuse them with some other condition and never give a second thought that it might be due to Chlamydia.
How do I Know Whether I have Chlamydia?
It is impossible to self diagnose whether one is suffering from Chlamydia or not, as most of the times infected people are without any symptoms and even if they have symptoms they are not able to relate it to Chlamydia as other diseases also present with similar kind or symptoms and symptoms might be overlapping. The diagnosis of Chlamydia is best left for a medical professional, as they will only be able to give a definitive diagnosis after complete clinical examination, correlating with signs and symptoms and sexual history along with an STD check which when comes out positive, only then will the diagnosis be confirmed.
The symptoms when present in women will include either abnormal vaginal discharge, abnormal bleeding from vagina or rectum, pain or burning on urination, pain during sex, itching or pain of the vagina, pelvic pain; while in males it will present as discharge from penis, dysuria, pain, itching, redness of the head of penis, swelling of testicles and sometimes rectal pain and bleeding including sore throat when oral sex is performed.
Can Chlamydia Turn Into Another STD?
What will happen if symptoms are left untreated? The diagnosis of Chlamydia is rarely made as most patients are not aware of the disease, so in most cases it is left untreated. Some people have doubts that if it is left untreated does it turn into another STD and the answer to that is a simple “no.” Chlamydia does not turn into another STD, especially HIV/AIDS or as a matter of fact any other sexually transmitted disease. In the above case, Chlamydia is caused due to bacteria where as HIV is caused by a virus and a bacterial disease can never turn into a viral disease, and in both the scenarios the causative agent is different. In Chlamydia, it is Chlamydia trachomatis bacterium and in the case of HIV/AIDS, it is human immunodeficiency virus. However, it should be kept in mind that people who are suffering from Chlamydia are at a greater risk of getting HIV if they come in contact with an HIV infected person through unprotected sexual intercourse. In particular, the women are at a threefold increased risk of contracting HIV infection than their non-infected counterparts.
It is relieving to know that Chlamydia is cured and treated with antibiotics. AIDS is managed with ART (anti retroviral therapy), but is not cured completely; however, medication is so effective that if diagnosed early most of HIV positive patients do not develop AIDS and lead a good quality of life.
However, if patients are undiagnosed for Chlamydia and left untreated then they might not develop HIV or other STD, but in the long run they develop further complications such as the Chlamydia bacterium will travel up in the vagina and cause infection of the reproductive system such as of the uterus, fallopian tubes and ovaries. These might cause pelvic inflammatory disease, which when left untreated might lead to ectopic pregnancies (embryo implantation outside the uterus). The infection in the fallopian tube might cause blockage and scarring of it ultimately leading to infertility in women. This is a serious health complication all around the world. In men also, it might cause serious concerns with decrease in fertile sperm count.
All of the complications can be prevented by taking antibiotic treatment, but why take a treatment when one can prevent it, so it is best to have safe and protected sexual intercourse.
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