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Wellness > Health

6 Things You’re Gonna Want To Know About Chlamydia Among College Students

We’ve all been urged to take necessary precautions to protect our sexual health, but alas, sometimes STIs head their ways into our lives at the worst times. In Season 2 of The Sex Lives of College Girls, this happens to our girl Leighton after she begins experimenting with her sexuality and sleeping with a number of women. No matter your sexual preference or how much you end up having sex, anyone can get an STI. Leighton ends up contracting chlamydia, but how common is chlamydia among college students, and what should you do if you get it? 

What actually is chlamydia?

Chlamydia is a sexually transmitted infection (STI) caused by bacteria that affects men and women, according to the Mayo Clinic. It’s actually most common in young women, and is easily treated. However, left untreated, it can result in some negative impacts to one’s health.

How is chlamydia spread?

Chlamydia is spread like many other STIs are: through vaginal, anal, or oral sex with a sexual partner that already has it. A pregnant woman with chlamydia can also pass the STI onto their baby. Getting tested after each new partner that you have sex with is one way to catch the spread of the STI before it continues on.

What are the symptoms of chlamydia? 

One of the scariest parts of contracting chlamydia is that there are often no symptoms of the disease. If one does experience symptoms, they will generally show up weeks after having sex with an infected partner. However, there are some common signs between both men and women that may point to one having the STI. 

Women will typically notice abnormal vaginal discharge and/or burning when peeing. For men, discharge from the penis, burning when peeing, and/or pain and swelling of the testicles are common symptoms. Additional symptoms can include abnormal sores, smelly discharge, burning when peeing, or bleeding between periods.

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How common is chlamydia for college students?

Chlamydia is one of the most common STIs among college students. According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), chlamydia is the most frequently reported bacterial STI in the United States. They also found that in 2020, around 61% of reported cases were those of young people aged 15 to 24. It’s clear that chlamydia is a pretty common STI in general, but especially so among college students and/or college-aged people. 

It’s extremely important to treat chlamydia, because if untreated, it can lead to some serious health problems. Of the most catastrophic, not treating chlamydia can cause permanent damage to a women’s reproductive system, leading to infertility or an ectopic pregnancy. Other repercussions can include pelvic inflammatory disease (PID), epididymitis, prostate gland infections, infection of newborns, or reactive arthritis. 

How can you treat chlamydia?

If you think you may have chlamydia, you’ll want to schedule an appointment with your physician to get tested, while letting all of your recent sexual partners know you have the STI. A blood test can let you know if you have contracted the STI, and then you will be prescribed some antibiotics to get rid of chlamydia.

The two most common forms of antibiotics used to treat chlamydia include doxycycline (taken once a day for one week) and azithromycin (one dose of 1g, followed by 500mg once a day for two days), though you could still be prescribed a different antibiotic depending on your personal status. It’s important to wait until you’ve cleared up your chlamydia to engage in sexual intercourse with another partner, which typically means waiting around seven days before having sex. 

McKinley Franklin is a writer and recent college graduate from East Carolina University. She was Her Campus' fall 2022 entertainment and culture intern and is a current national writer. McKinley specializes in entertainment coverage, though her favorite niche of the industry is reality television.