It’s important to talk about the uncomfortable topics in life such as sexually transmitted diseases. While both sexes can be diagnosed with treatable STDs, men, in particularly, seem to have difficulties talking about their condition.
Chlamydia is a prime example of taboo STD, even though it’s the most common STD in the nation. According to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, there were over 1.5 million reported chlamydia cases in 2016.
University of Washington Associate Professor and Infectious Disease Specialist Julie Dombrowski, MD, MPH said, people are under the mistaken impression that chlamydia only comes from engaging in risky sexual behavior. However, she said, four factors play a role in a person’s development – sexual behavior, sexual orientation, age and gender.
Men who have sex with other men tend to see chlamydia in the throat or rectum. There’s been no long-term testing of throat chlamydia, as it’s typically only found after testing for gonorrhea. Men with chlamydia will experience symptoms like irritation, pain and penile discharge, which is when they tend to seek the help of their primary care physician or an STD clinic.
Women, however, may have no symptoms at all, which makes them much more likely to transmit the disease to their unsuspecting partner. Chlamydia that has not been treated can result in serious consequences such as infertility, pelvic inflammatory disease, etc.
Whether a man or a woman, there’s a need for routine, annual screening. This is especially true for any person with multiple partners or people who use methamphetamines.
Dombrowski said anyone who tests positive for chlamydia should stay calm. Several drugs could be used to treat the condition such as Azithromycin, which is taken once by mouth, or by taking doxycycline, which means taking two pills a day for a week. In some areas around the nation, it is possible to get a prescription for a partner without them needing to see a doctor.
STDs may not be fun to deal with or talk about, but talking about and knowing the symptoms could ensure you stay healthy for a long time to come.
Written by Mark Riegel, MD
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