Chlamydia trachomatis as defined by Uptodate.com is a small gram-negative bacterium that is the most common cause of bacterial sexually transmitted disease (STD) in both men and women (Marrazzo, 2014, p. 1). Chlamydia is transmitted by unprotected sexual intercourse. It can be passed through vaginal, anal, or oral sex. This disease can also be passed through the eyes of an infant during vaginal delivery during childbirth. According to Uptodate.com, a significant proportion of patients are asymptomatic, thereby providing an ongoing reservoir for infection (Marrazzo, 2014, p. 1). The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) state that most people may not show and signs or symptoms until several weeks after being infected. Women may display signs such as abnormal vaginal or rectal discharge, and burning with urination. Men can also display signs and symptoms such as penile or rectal discharge, burning with urination and pain or swelling to the testicles. Chlamydia, if left untreated can cause potential infertility problems and pelvic inflammatory disease (PID) in women (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2014)
Anyone who is sexually active can get chlamydia through unprotected sex. Teens and young adults are most at risk for acquiring sexually transmitted diseases such as chlamydia. This is due to a mixture of behavioral, biological, and cultural reasons. Teens and young adults are also more likely to engage in sexual activity without protection and participate with multiple partners. According to the CDC, it is estimated that 1 in 15 sexually active females aged 14-19 years has chlamydia (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2014). Gay, bisexual, and other men who have sex with men are also at high risk for acquiring chlamydia due to risky sexual behavior.
Any person that suspects that they may have Chlamydia or any sexually transmitted disease can be tested by a medical provider. Testing for Chlamydia can be checked through a vaginal or penile swab or urine sample. Any person that has a positive test result must be treated with a full course of antibiotics. All sexual partners must also be contacted and treated as well. Abstaining from sexual activity during treatment is imperative to be sure that the Chlamydia infection is gone before engaging in sexual activity again. Engaging in sexual activity while under treatment can result in reoccurrence and spreading back and forth between sexual partners All Positive Chlamydia results must be reported, there is a report and surveillance process. This process helps to assesses trends in epidemic patterns, understand the impact of the burden of disease on populations, the health care infrastructure, and to better target population-level disease prevention efforts (Washington State Department of Health, 2012, p. 1). Each medical provider or care facility that receives positive test results has three days to report these results to their local health department. The State Board of Health is responsible for reporting these results to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) with a CDC surveillance form (Virginia Department of Health, 2011).
The most assured way to prevent Chlamydia is practicing abstinence. Using protection with latex condoms during sexual intercourse and maintaining a monogamous relationship will decrease the risk of contracting Chlamydia. Public health policies and procedures should focus on more education to high risk populations to prevent the spread of sexually transmitted diseases such as Chlamydia Trachomatis.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2014, December 16). STD Facts – Chlamydia. Retrieved from http://www.cdc.gov/std/chlamydia/stdfact-chlamydia.htm
Marrazzo, J. (2014, December 23). Treatment of Chlamydia trachomatis infection. Retrieved from http://www.uptodate.com/contents/treatment-of-chlamydia-trachomatis-infection?topicKey=ID%2F7579&elapsedTimeMs=1&source=machineLearning&searchTerm=chlamydia&selectedTitle=1%7E150&view=print&displayedView=full&anchor=H49#
Virginia Department of Health. (2011, March). Regulations for Disease Reporting and Control Commonwealth of Virginia. Retrieved from https://www.vdh.virginia.gov/epidemiology/documents/pdf/regs.pdf (Links to an external site.)
Washington State Department of Health. (2012, April). Chlamydia. Retrieved from http://www.doh.wa.gov/Portals/1/Documents/5000/150-Chlamydia.pdf