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 during the pregnancy.
- Women and men at high risk. Consider frequent chlamydia screening if you have multiple sex partners or if you don't always use a condom during sex. Other markers of high risk are current infection with another sexually transmitted illness and possible exposure to any STI through an infected partner.
Screening and diagnosis of chlamydia is relatively simple. Tests include:
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- A swab. For women, your doctor may take a swab of the discharge from your cervix for culture or antigen testing for chlamydia. This can be done at the same time your doctor does a routine Pap test. For men, your doctor may insert 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 to test for the presence of chlamydia.
- A urine test. A sample of your urine analyzed in the laboratory may indicate the presence of this infection.
- Chlamydia: CDC fact sheet. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. http://www.cdc.gov/std/chlamydia/stdfact-chlamydia.htm. Accessed Feb. 28, 2011.
- Chlamydia: Frequently asked questions. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. http://womenshealth.gov/faq/chlamydia.cfm. Accessed Feb. 28, 2011.
- Zenilman JM. Genital chlamydia trachomatis infections in women. http://www.uptodate.com/home/index.html. Accessed Feb. 28, 2011.
- Zenilman JM. Genital chlamydia trachomatis infections in men. http://www.uptodate.com/home/index.html. Accessed Feb. 28, 2011.
- Brunham RC. Chlamydial diseases. In: Goldman L, et al. Cecil Medicine. 23rd ed. Philadelphia, Pa.: Saunders Elsevier; 2008. http://www.mdconsult.com/das/book/body/191371208-2/0/1492/0.html#. Accessed Feb. 28, 2011.
- Marrazzo J. Treatment of chlamydia trachomatis infection. http://www.uptodate.com/home/index.html. Accessed Feb. 28, 2011.
- Pelvic inflammatory disease (PID): CDC fact sheet. http://www.cdc.gov/std/pid/stdfact-pid.htm. Accessed Feb. 28, 2011.
- Rohren CH (expert opinion). Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn. March 3, 2011.