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Speedy Sex Ed for Students: Chlamydia

Most college students have had at least some formal education regarding sex and sexually transmitted infections/diseases (STIs/STDs). But along our sexual careers, we often forget a lot of the information they taught us in 8th grade Sex Ed. As sexually-active adults, we should all be familiar with the concept of STIs and their treatments, as well as symptoms and ways to protect ourselves against them. So this collegiette decided to get informed – and to share her newfound knowledge with all of you! This week’s subject? Chlamydia.

Aliases: none

You won’t die*

What is it?

Easily a contender for the most common STD around. Healthline writes that it is an STD “caused by bacteria that are usually spread through sexual contact.”   

Where can you get it?

Chlamydia can manifest in “the penis, vagina, cervix, urethra, eye or throat” according to Planned Parenthood.

These will not help.

How is it transmitted?

The Center of Disease Control fact sheet says, “You can get chlamydia by having vaginal, anal, or oral sex with someone who has Chlamydia.” Even if a male partner does not ejaculate, you can still get Chlamydia.

What are the symptoms?

Unfortunately, Chlamydia often doesn’t show symptoms—especially in women. According to AVERT “70-75% of women infected with Chlamydia are asymptomatic (show no symptoms).” Possible symptoms in both genders include pain during urination and pain around the opening of the genital orifices. Women often report vaginal discharge with an odor, pain during sex, and more painful periods (as if they weren’t already bad enough). Men can experience pain and swelling around the testicles and small amounts of clear or cloudy discharge.

Who is at risk?

Any adult who is sexually active is at risk.

How is it diagnosed?

According to Medline Plus, “If you have symptoms of a Chlamydia infection, your health care provider will collect a culture or perform a test called a PCR.” Usually a sample will be taken from the tip of the penis or from a pelvic exam if you are female.

How is it treated?

Since Chlamydia is spread through bacteria the most common treatment is antibiotics.

What if I don’t get treatment?

Untreated, Chlamydia can lead to Pelvic Inflammatory disease, which consists of “abdominal or lower back pain, painful urination, pain during intercourse, bleeding between menstrual periods, nausea, vomiting, fatigue, or fever.” Men can experience testicular pain and the infection can spread to the prostate.

How can I protect myself against Chlamydia?

Condoms are the number one preventative measure against Chlamydia if you choose to be sexually active. Abstinence is the only surefire way to prevent STIs.

If you’re a student at the University of Pittsburgh, the student health center offers tests and further information about contraception and STI/STDs in general. Click here for more information.

I will continue to use the banana reference with regards to condoms. WRAP THE BANANA.

*Keep in mind that catching a sexually transmitted disease says nothing about your character. It is your body, you choose what you do with it, and no one can tell you otherwise. There’s no reason to feel ashamed if you do get Chlamydia or any other STD. It can happen to any sexually-active adult at any point in their sexual journey.

For further information, consult the following authorities on STIs and sexual health:

Image credit: 1, 2, 3, 4