Hard to spell, Easy to catch
Chlamydia is the most common sexually transmitted infection in Australia, but mostly amongst people under 25 years of age. That means college students are a hotspot for some casual STI transmission, whether with a new flame or just after a wild night of hitting the Jungle Juice. So what do you need to know to protect yourself?
A report on STIs in Australia stated that as many as one in 20 young Australians between the ages of 15 and 24 have chlamydia, and many of these are undiagnosed and at risk of infertility and reproductive health problems.
Chlamydia is mostly transmitted through unprotected vaginal or anal sex, which means to avoid it you mostly just need to keep it wrapped. You can also have a chlamydia infection in the throat, which is caused by unprotected oral sex.
Many women do not show symptoms when they have chlamydia. It inflames their cervix and uterus and it can cause a lot of damage. If they do show symptoms, they might have weird discharge, a burning sensation, pain during sex, bleeding or general pain.
Most men do not show symptoms when they have chlamydia. It infects the urethra and can spread into the area of the balls and cause a lot of pain. If they do show symptoms, they might have a discharge from the penis, a burning sensation when peeing or discomfort in the testicles.
Chlamydia can be diagnosed through a routine STI test at your doctor – they’ll probably just need you to pee in a cup and it’s as easy as that. Since you can have chlamydia and not have any symptoms (i.e. seem completely healthy), it’s important to be regularly tested if you think you’re at risk or you have sex with multiple partners.
Chlamydia is easy to treat with a course of antibiotics. It is pretty insignificant – kind of like getting an earache or bronchitis. The problem is that often it doesn’t show symptoms and leaving unchecked can lead to infertility and reproductive health problems.
Ultimately, if you have protected sex and are regularly tested, chlamydia won’t be an issue for you. As always, wrap it before you tap it!