Sexually transmitted diseases infect millions of people a year. Some of the commonly known sexually transmitted diseases are herpes, syphillis, HIV, AIDS, genital warts, and gonorrhea. Some of these diseases are fatal, others can be cured with antibiotics. All of these are dangerous, but the most common sexually transmitted disease is a disease that isn't as well known. This disease is called chlamydia. Chlamydia is a disease that is infecting young adults all over the country. This disease is of great concern for individuals in high school and those in college. This disease is the leading cause of sterility. Chlamydia is a sexually transmitted infection caused by a bacteria called Chlamydia trachomatis. It primarily infects cells in the tube which carrries urine from the bladder to the outside of the body, and also the neck of the uterus. Chlamydia also infects the cells in the rectum and eyes. Chlamydia is the number one sexually transmitted disease in the United States, rates are highest in the West and Midwest. Missouri has a chlamydia rate that is much higher than the national average. Health economists estimate that the chlamydial infections and the other problems they cause cost Americans more than two billion dollars a year. Over four million people become infected with chlamydia each year. New cases of chlamydia are about four times more common than new cases of genital herpes and genital warts combined. Chlamydia is often dubbed the silent epidemic because it is so prevalent, but so unheard of. Chlamydia is not as well known as other sexually transmitted diseases like gonorrhea or syphilis. Chlamydia infection is greatest among young adults and teenagers, especially in sexually active women less than twenty years of age. One of the reasons that chlamydia is so prevalent is because over 70% of women who are infected don't know they are infected because they lack signs or symptoms. About 50% of men lack signs or symptoms. Chlamydia is transmitted in various ways.
Chlamydia is primarily transmitted through sexual intercourse. It is transferred during oral, vaginal, or anal sexual contact with an infected partner. Chlamydia can also be acquired in the pharynx from oral-genital contact. Chlamydia can also be transferred from an infected mother to her child during delivery. The children often have an eye inflammation at birth or, in rarer cases pneumonia. There are several risk factors for chlamydia. Engaging in unsafe sex is a huge risk factor for chlamydia. Having sex with more than one partner also increases the risk of contracting chlamydia. Being in a sexual relationship with someone who has multiple sex partners is also a risk factor in becoming infected with chlamydia.
If symptoms do appear, they usually appear from one week to one month after being infected. There are many symptoms that occur in men. Some include the inflammation of the urethra, a stinging feeling during urination, mild, sticky, milky, mucus like discharge from the penis, and possible itchiness around the opening. Others include pain, or tenderness in the testicles. These symptoms may seem to come and go. Approximately half of men infected with chlamydia will never have these symptoms. Symptoms in women include mild, milky, or mucus-like discharge, painful urination, painful intercourse, bleeding between periods, and abdominal pain. Others include stinging during urination, and pain caused by pelvic inflammation. Symptoms may also appear in the rectum, and can cause discharge and pain as well as diarrhea. Chlamydia can also cause eye infections, like conjunctivitis. Women are less likely to show symptoms with over 70% of infected women showing no symptoms at all. Infants that have been infected from birth show several symptoms. These symptoms include problems breathing, inflammation of the eye, premature birth, and even pneumonia. Chlamydia is easily treated if it is detected soon after it is contracted.
The most common way of testing for chlamydia is for a doctor to collect a cell sample from the infected area, usually the cervix or penis, with a cotton swab. This sample is then sent to a laboratory for evaluation and results. The most reliable ways to find out whether the infection is chlamydial are through laboratory tests. Usually, a doctor or a nurse will send a sample of pus from the
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