Tests and diagnosis

By Mayo Clinic Staff

Multimedia

Because of the chance of other health problems if you contract chlamydia, ask your doctor how often you should have chlamydia screening tests if you're at risk. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends chlamydia screening for:

  • Sexually active women age 25 or younger. The rate of chlamydia infection is highest in this group, so a yearly screening test is recommended. Even if you've been tested in the past year, get tested when you have a new sex partner.
  • Pregnant women. You should be tested for chlamydia during your first prenatal exam. If you have a high risk of infection — from changing sex partners or from your regular partner's possible infection — get tested again later in your pregnancy.
  • Women and men at high risk. Consider frequent chlamydia screening if you have multiple sex partners, if you don't always use a condom during sex or if you're a man who has sex with men. Other markers of high risk are current infection with another sexually transmitted infection and possible exposure to an STI through an infected partner.

Screening and diagnosis of chlamydia is relatively simple. Tests include:

  • A swab. For women, your doctor takes a swab of the discharge from your cervix for culture or antigen testing for chlamydia. This can be done during a routine Pap test. Some women prefer to swab their vaginas themselves, which has been shown to be as diagnostic as doctor-obtained swabs.

    For men, your doctor inserts a slim swab into the end of your penis to get a sample from the urethra. In some cases, your doctor may swab the anus.

  • A urine test. A sample of your urine analyzed in the laboratory may indicate the presence of this infection.

If you've been treated for an initial chlamydia infection, you should be retested in about three months.

Apr. 05, 2014

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