Chlamydia-What is chlamydia and how common is it?
Chlamydia (kluh-MID-ee-uh) is a sexually transmitted infection (STI). STIs are also called STDs, or sexually transmitted diseases. Chlamydia is an STI caused by bacteria called chlamydia trachomatis. Chlamydia is the most commonly reported STI in the United States. Women, especially young women, are hit hardest by chlamydia.
Women often get chlamydia more than once, meaning they are “reinfected.” This can happen if their sex partners were not treated. Reinfections place women at higher risk for serious reproductive health problems, such as infertility.
Who should get tested for chlamydia?
You should be tested for chlamydia once a year if you are:
• 25 or younger and have sex
• Older than 25 and:
– Have a new sex partner
– Have more than one sex partner
– Have sex with someone who has other sex partners
• Not using condoms during sex within a relationship that is not mutually monogamous, meaning you or your partner has sex with other people
What should I do if I have chlamydia?
Chlamydia is easy to treat. But you should be tested and treated right away to protect your reproductive health. If you have chlamydia:
See a doctor right away. Women with chlamydia are 5 times more likely to get HIV, the virus that causes AIDS, from an infected partner.
Follow your doctor’s orders and finish all your antibiotics. Even if symptoms go away, you need to finish all the medicine.
Don’t engage in any sexual activity while being treated for chlamydia.
Tell your sex partner(s) so they can be treated.
See your doctor again if your symptoms don’t go away within 1 to 2 weeks after finishing the medicine.
See your doctor again within 3 to 4 months for another chlamydia test. This is most important if your sex partner was not treated or if you have a new sex partner.
Doctors, local health departments, and STI and family planning clinics have information about STIs. And they can all test you for chlamydia. Don’t assume your doctor will test you for chlamydia when you have your Pap test. Take care of yourself by asking for a chlamydia test.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has free information and offers a list of clinics and doctors who provide treatment for STIs. Call CDC-INFO at 1-800-CDC-INFO (232-4636), TTY: 1-888-232-6348. You can call for information without leaving your name.
HPV—What is genital HPV infection?
Genital human papillomavirus (HPV) is the most common sexually transmitted infection (STI). There are more than 40 HPV types that can infect the genital areas of men and women, including the skin of the penis, vulva (area outside the vagina), and anus, and the linings of the vagina, cervix, and rectum. You cannot see HPV. Most people who become infected with HPV do not even know they have it.
What are the symptoms and potential consequences of HPV?
Most people with HPV do not develop symptoms or health problems. But sometimes, certain types of HPV can cause genital warts in men and women. Other HPV types can cause cervical cancer and other less common cancers, such as cancers of the vulva, vagina, anus, and penis. The types of HPV that can cause genital warts are not the same as the types that can cause cancer.
HPV types are often referred to as “low-risk” (wart-causing) or “high-risk” (cancer-causing), based on whether they put a person at risk for cancer. In 90% of cases, the body’s immune system clears the HPV infection naturally within two years. This is true of both high-risk and low-risk types.
Genital warts usually appear as small bumps or groups of bumps, usually in the genital area. They can be raised or flat, single or multiple, small or large, and sometimes cauliflower shaped. They can appear on the vulva, in or around the vagina or anus, on the cervix, and on the penis, scrotum, groin, or thigh. Warts may appear within weeks or months after sexual contact with an infected person. Or, they may not appear at all. If left untreated, genital warts may go away, remain unchanged, or increase in size or number. They will not turn into cancer.
Cervical cancer does not have symptoms until it is quite advanced. For this reason, it is important for women to get screened regularly for cervical cancer.
Other less common HPV-related cancers, such as cancers of the vulva, vagina, anus and penis, also may not have signs or symptoms until they are advanced.
How do people get genital HPV?
Genital HPV is passed on through genital contact, most often during vaginal and anal sex. A person can have HPV even if years have passed since he or she had sex. Most infected persons do not realize they are infected or that they are passing the virus to a sex partner.
Very rarely, a pregnant woman with genital HPV can pass HPV to her baby during vaginal delivery. In these cases, the child may develop warts in the throat or voice box – a condition called recurrent respiratory papillomatosis (RRP).
How can people prevent HPV?
A vaccine can now protect females from the four types of HPV that cause most cervical cancers and genital warts. The vaccine is recommended for 11 and 12 year-old girls. It is also recommended for girls and women age 13 through 26 who have not yet been vaccinated or completed the vaccine series.
For those who choose to be sexually active, condoms may lower the risk of HPV, if used all the time and the right way. Condoms may also lower the risk of developing HPV-related diseases, such as genital warts and cervical cancer. But HPV can infect areas that are not covered by a condom—so condoms may not fully protect against HPV. So the only sure way to prevent HPV is to avoid all sexual activity.
Individuals can also lower their chances of getting HPV by being in a mutually faithful relationship with someone who has had no or few sex partners. However, even people with only one lifetime sex partner can get HPV. For those who are not in long-term mutually monogamous relationships, limiting the number of sex partners and choosing a partner who has had no or few prior sex partners may lower the risk of infection. But it may not be possible to determine if a partner who has been sexually active in the past is currently infected
FOR MORE INFORMATION:
National HPV and Cervical Cancer Prevention Resource Center