Sunday, January 13, 2008

A Silent Epidemic

Billboards, television ads, and 7th grade health teachers all proclaim the message of safer sex, yet the U. S. Department of Health and Services estimates that 13 million people become infected with a sexually transmitted disease every year. According to the Center for Disease Control, Chlamydia is the most common sexually transmitted disease in the United States with 3 million new cases occurring each year. This article will talk about signs and symptoms of Chlamydia, how to treat it, and how to avoid it.

Chlamydia is caused by the bacterium Chlamydia trachomatis and is transmitted through vaginal, anal, or oral sex. It can also be transmitted to a new born baby as it passes through the birth canal of the infected mother. 50-75% of women infected with Chlamydia show no signs or symptoms and have no idea they are infected, which is why it is sometimes referred to as “the silent epidemic”. Chlamydia, when untreated, can cause pelvic inflammatory disease. This puts the woman at risk for infertility, endometriosis, and damage to the reproductive system. Endometriosis symptoms can be extremely painful, and if considering conception, may require infertility treatment. Common symptoms of Chlamydia include unusual vaginal bleeding or discharge, pain in the abdomen, fever, and painful urination. In order to diagnose Chlamydia a culture swab must be obtained

Once detected, Chlamydia can be cured with antibiotics. The most commonly used antibiotics in treatment of Chlamydia are Azithromycin, Doxycycline, Tetracycline, and Erythromycin. Antibiotics must be prescribed by a physician and are administered orally according to the doctor’s specifications. It is also important to complete your course of medication completely in order to recover from the infection. It may be a good idea to return to your doctor for Chlamydia testing every year, as it is possible to be re-infected with the disease even after treatment. Abstain from sex while being treated for the disease even if you no longer have symptoms. You can resume sexual activity once your course of antibiotics is finished.

The risk for transmission is dramatically reduced with the use of condoms with a water based lubricant, such as K Y Jelly. Petroleum based lubricants, such as Vaseline, should not be used because they break down latex (the material the condom is made of). The only sure way to avoid becoming infected with Chlamydia is abstinence (not having sex) or monogamy with an uninfected partner.

It is important for partners to discuss their sexual history before having sex and have STD tests done. Essential to prevention for sexually active individuals is an understanding of sexually transmitted diseases and how they are spread.

Eric Daiter has been sponsored by The NJ Center for Reproductive Medicine, a leading provider of infertility treatment, to write information about endometriosis symptoms. For more information, please visit www.infertilitytutorials.com

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