Chlamydia - Exams and Tests
A doctor diagnoses
chlamydia using a medical history, a physical exam,
and tests. During the medical history, your doctor may ask you questions such
- Do you think you were exposed to any
sexually transmitted infections (STIs)? How do you know?
Did your partner tell you?
- What are your symptoms?
- Do you have discharge?
- Do you have sores in the genital area or anywhere else on
- Do you have any urinary symptoms, including frequent
urination, burning or stinging with urination, or urinating in small
- Do you have any abdominal or pelvic pain or cramping
- Do you have bleeding between your periods or
- What method of birth control do you use? Do you
use condoms to protect against STIs?
high-risk sexual behaviors do you or your partner
engage in? For example, do you have multiple sex partners or have sex without using a condom (except if you're in a long-term relationship)?
- Have you had an STI in the past? How was it treated?
After the medical history is taken:
types of tests can be used to diagnose a chlamydia
infection. Test results are usually done in 2 to 3 days, except for the
chlamydia culture. It can take 5 to 7 days.
Other infections can
occur along with a chlamydia infection. Your doctor may recommend testing
If you have chlamydia, your doctor will send a report to
the state health department. Your personal information is kept confidential.
The health department may contact you about telling your sex partner or
partners that they may need treatment.
U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF)
recommends chlamydia screening for all sexually active women age 24 and
younger. The USPSTF also recommends screening for women older than 24 with
high-risk sexual behaviors. High-risk sexual behaviors include having multiple sex partners or having sex without using a condom (except if you're in a long-term relationship). The task force does not
state how often to be screened. After reviewing all of the research, the USPSTF
has not recommended for or against regular chlamydia screening for men.2
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
(CDC) recommends screening every year for sexually active adolescents and women
up to age 25. Women older than 25 who have high-risk sexual behaviors also
should be screened every year.3 You may have a urine
test for chlamydia (if it is available in your area) even if you do not have a
full pelvic or genital exam.
The CDC recommends tests for pregnant
women with high-risk sexual behaviors so they do not spread chlamydia to their
babies. All pregnant women should be screened during their first prenatal
visit. If a pregnant woman is at high risk for chlamydia, she may be tested
again during her third trimester.
The CDC also recommends you
have the test again 3 to 12 months after you finish treatment. Women who have been diagnosed and treated for chlamydia may get
it again if they have sex with the same partner or partners.