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Women's Health

Women and Chlamydia

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We don't recommend routine screening for men. In men, any long-term complications are extremely rare.

What tests are used to diagnose chlamydia?

There are several ways to test for chlamydia. Usually it's a very easy thing to do. The test can be done using a urine sample or it can be done during a routine pelvic exam where the clinician collects a swab either from the cervix or from the vagina. Patients can collect the specimen themselves with something called a vaginal swab. Usually the results take a few days to a week to come back.

A chlamydia test isn't automatically done at the time that a Pap test is done. Many physicians will do it at the same time, but it's important for women to ask their doctor – sexually active women aged 25 and under should make sure that they're getting a chlamydia test every year and not just assume it's being done when they have their annual pelvic exam or Pap test.

How is chlamydia treated?

If someone has a chlamydia infection, it's really important that not only they get treated, but that they make sure their partners get treated too. The treatment for chlamydia is very safe and effective and easy. A single dose of azithromycin or a one-week course of doxycycline can be used.

It is possible to get chlamydia again. In fact, the re-infection rates are really high. So we also recommend that…any time someone has a chlamydia infection, they should come back three months later and get another test to make sure they don't have a repeat infection.

What are the best ways to avoid getting chlamydia?

The best way to prevent getting chlamydia is either to not have sex, or for people who are having sex, to use a condom every time and to use it correctly every time. Also to minimize the number of partners that they have sex with and to minimize the number of partners who have other partners at the same time.

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Reviewed on May 06, 2011

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