Chlamydia

    • Brief

    • Chlamydia is a sexually transmitted infection (STI) caused by bacteria. It usually affects the genitals, but you can also get a throat or an eye infection from chlamydia. You may have chlamydia and not realise it since there may be no symptoms. Chlamydia is entirely curable when treated early.

    • What are the symptoms?

    • Chlamydia is a silent disease. It rarely shows any symptoms until weeks after you have been infected. When there are symptoms, you may notice the following as a woman:

      • Your vaginal discharge looks like pus or mucus.
      • You may feel some burning sensation when peeing.

      As a man, you may notice the following:

      • An abnormal discharge from your penis.
      • You may feel a burning sensation when peeing.
      • You may have some swellings or pain around your balls (testicles).
    • What are the causes?

    • A bacterial infection causes chlamydia. You can get this infection when you have unprotected sex with someone who is infected. A newborn can get this infection from their mother during delivery, possibly leading to a severe lung infection or blindness.

    • What are the things that put you at risk?

    • You may be at a higher risk of contracting chlamydia if you do any of the following:

      • Have unprotected vaginal, anal or oral sex with multiple sexual partners.
      • Are a man that has sex with other men.
      • If you have a partner that has another sexually transmitted infection (STI).
    • When to visit a doctor?

    • Chlamydia rarely causes long-term complications in men. However, when left untreated, chlamydia can cause a severe condition in women known as pelvic inflammatory disease (PID).  The infection can spread to your womb, eggs and the tubes that carry your fertilised eggs to your womb. It can lead to inability to get pregnant, long-term pain and having a pregnancy outside your womb (ectopic pregnancy),

      Therefore, if you notice any of the following symptoms, visit your healthcare provider immediately:

      • Pain in the lower part of your abdomen.
      • Pain during sexual intercourse.
      • If you notice any bleeding between one menstrual period and the next one.
    • How to prevent?

    • You can prevent chlamydia or reduce your chances of having it by doing the following:

      • Practice safe sex. Use latex condoms during sex.
      • Be faithful. By staying committed to a partner with no sexually transmitted disease, you can reduce your chances of having chlamydia.
      • Get screened for STIs. If you are sexually active, you must get screened for sexually transmitted infections every year. If you do this, you can catch any disease early and begin treatment immediately to prevent complications.
    • How to manage and treat?

    • Chlamydia is curable without complications when treated early. Do not manage chlamydia through self-care. You can get complications when treatment is delayed.

      Your healthcare provider will recommend antibacterial medications to treat your infection. You may have to take these medicines for some days or weeks. You must take these medicines as prescribed to make sure that they work for you. Do not stop taking your medications before your healthcare provider tells you to.

      Consult your healthcare provider about when it is safe for you to start having sex again after your treatment.

    • Kulawa cares

    • Young people who have started having sex may face some hurdles when getting access to care for STIs, but this should not discourage you. In all primary healthcare centres, there are 'heart-to-heart' centres where youth-friendly services are offered. Your partner should get treated too, to avoid getting re-infected. Practice safe sex to help reduce your risks of getting the infection.

      Chlamydia can cause severe complications in women when not treated early. Therefore, if you are sexually active, you must practice safe sex and get yourself screened yearly for sexually transmitted infections.