Thursday, April 15, 2010

Chla … what? Chlamydia!

‘They’ say that you should always write what you know. And right now, something that I know a whole bunch about is the Sexually Transmitted Infection, Chlamydia.

So sit back, and enjoy the obligate intracellular bacterial pathogenic ride, kiddies.

First things first, Chlamydia is actually a genus.

Not a genius, a genus. That means that there are actually HELLA different species of Chlamydia. And most of those species actually affect animals (like hamsters, cats and livestock!).

Two species of Chlamydia affect people: Pneumoniae and Trachomatis.

The sexually transmitted one is Trachomatis (pronounced track-ohhh-mah-tis). That’s the one I’m talking about!

Second things second, Chlamydia Trachomatis affects five places on your body.

Cervixes, Urethras, Rectums, Throats and Eyes.

This means that any time affected fluids come into contact with one of those surfaces, Chlamydia can spread. (Which means you may want to think twice before you ejaculate or fejaculate into someone’s eye.)

Third things third, Chlamydia is the most common bacterial STI around.

There are an estimated 90 million cases of Chlamydia Trachomatis worldwide per year, and 2.2 million in the U.S. Now, that doesn’t mean 90 million people a year are being infected, as Chlamydia can reinfect you even after you've been treated for it.  Which means that it COULD be 3 people getting infected 30 million times per year (it's not).

Fourth things fourth, Most people don’t know when they have Chlamydia.

It’s estimated that 75% of ladies and 50% of fellas who have Chlamydia have no clue that they have it.

Why?

The most common thing that happens to your body when you get Chlamydia … is absolutely nothing. But even though you’re not showing any symptoms, you can still totally spread Chlamydia to other people.

Fifth things fifth, let’s talk about what happens when Chlamydia gets into your body.

In the short term, if you are gonna rock symptoms, ladies will have things like inflamed cervixes or urethras, which can lead to irregular discharge (yellow, usually), irregular bleeding, painful peeing, pain and/or bleeding during sex.

For fellas, it’ll be an inflamed urethra, which can lead to irregular discharge and pain when you pee.

Anuses can also get inflamed, so if you’re receiving anal sex, make sure the person testing you knows.

Also, if you have a sore throat and can’t seem to pin down why it’s sore … it’s possible you’ve gotten Chlamydia back there if you’ve been giving head.

For ladies, leaving Chlamydia untreated can lead to health problems like PID (Pelvic Inflammatory Disease), Salpingitis (inflamed oviducts), and Endometriosis (where uterine tissue grows outside the uterus). These, in and of themselves, can be a painful ordeal. These can also cause scarring in your uterus and oviducts (fallopian tubes), which can lead to pregnancies in the fallopian tubes (ectopic pregnancies) or the problems even trying to have babies (infertility).

For fellas, long term effects are rare, but can lead to something called epidimo-orchitis. What? That means that your epididymis (a part of your testicle) can be painful, you can have a fever, and sometimes it can lead to infertility too.

Remember … these symptoms could also be signs of about a million other things. The only way to know what’s going on for sure is to talk to a health care practitioner!

Sixth things sixth, what in the hell does Obligate Intracellular Bacterial Pathogen Mean?

Well, I’m glad you asked. Obligate = C. needs a host (person) to survive. Intracellular = C. reproduces inside a cell. Bacterial = C. is a single celled organism. Pathogen = a disease spreading agent.

So wait what? Basically, in order for Chlamydia to spread, it HAS to get into the cells of a host.

So, if you ejaculate onto a table, the Chlamydia isn’t going to be able to reproduce, because it doesn’t have a live host to feed off of.

Also, because Chlamydia only attacks certain cells (the ones on the sites I listed earlier), you also can’t spread Chlamydia by say, fejaculating all over your partner’s back. Although it comes in contact with cells, they aren’t the right cells.

Seventh things seventh, there are certain ways to spread Chlamydia.

Penis-vagina sex, penis-anus sex, oral sex, mother-to-child, and by sharing sex toys.

And, like I mentioned, if sex fluids get into eyes or throats, that can spread Chlamydia to the eyes or throat.

In terms of mother to child, this isn’t an ‘in the womb’ kinda thing. Basically, babies get Chlamydia in their eyes while they’re being pushed through the birth canal.

This means that preventing infants from getting Chlamydia is as simple as making sure that Mama has been tested and treated for Chlamydia BEFORE she gives birth.

Eighth things eighth, Chlamydia is totally preventable.

Don’t want Chlamydia? There are lots of things you can do to not get it.
1. Dry hump, strip tease, have cyber sex, or basically do anything where you avoid coming into contact with sex fluids.
2. Not realistic for you? Then when you are doing things that involve sex fluids, make sure you use things like Condoms, Female Condoms, or Dental Dams to avoid as much contact with sex fluids as possible.
3. Get tested! If you have a partner, get them tested. If either of you have Chlamydia, get treated for it, and hold off on having sex until you’ve finished treatment completely.
4. Be fluid bonded. That means you both get tested (for all STIs, of course) and then you only have unprotected sex with each other. If you have other partners, make sure that you’re doing step 2 with them.

Ninth things ninth, when should testing happen?

1. Anytime you have symptoms, or anytime a partner tells you that they’re infected.
2. If you’re having sex with more than one person, get tested at least once per year.
3. If you’re pregnant.
4. If you are a lady under 25, you should be especially vigilant with testing because your cervix isn’t fully developed and more likely to pick up infection.

Tenth things tenth, Chlamydia is totally curable.

Luckily, Chlamydia is caused by a living thing. Living things can be killed. For you, that means that Chlamydia can be completely removed from your system through treatment.

If you get Chlamydia (and unless you’re allergic to these meds or pregnant) your doc will hit you up with a 7 day, twice a day dose of Doxycycline, or a 1 shot dose of slow-releasing Azythromcin.

Conclusion

So … what should you take away from this?

• The best way to deal with Chlamydia is not to get it at all. So rock some dry humping, testing, and/or condoms to keep yourself having to deal with it.
• Although you may not be showing symptoms, it’s possible you may still have Chlamydia, so make sure you get screened regularly!
• If you think you’ve got it, hit up a doctor or clinic.
• If you do have it, don’t have sex until your treatment is over AND make sure you’re following the instructions for treatment.
• Obligate Intracellular Bacterial Pathogen is a sweet phrase.

Keep Thinking!

-Becca

2 comments:

  1. if one were to have a female partner can chlamydia be transmitted by oral vaginal sex? i.e., is it at all possible for the giver to become infected with Chlamydia by means of giving their female partner oral sex?

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