STI Series: Chlamydia Identification


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05 Apr 2016

Chlamydia Trachomatis is a bacterial virus and found in semen and vaginal fluids of those carrying the infection, writes sex and relationships therapist Emma Ziff.

Join us each day this week as we examine the role of pharmacy in Chlamydia screening. Missed yesterday’s instalment? Click here

Identification

Often there are no symptoms. In fact, at least 70 per cent of women with Chlamydia do not have any symptoms, and around 25-50 per cent of male cases go unnoticed.

Possible symptoms in women include:

  • Pain when urinating (cystitis)
  • Unusual vaginal discharge
  • Pain in the stomach or pelvis area
  • Pain or bleeding during sex
  • Bleeding after sex
  • Bleeding between periods or heavier periods than usual

If left untreated there could be serious repercussions:

  • Pelvic Inflammatory Disease (PID)
  • Ectopic Pregnancy
  • Infertility

Possible symptoms in men include:

  • Pain when urinating
  • White, cloudy or a watery discharge from the tip of the penis
  • Burning or itching in the urethra
  • Pain in the testicles

If left untreated Chlamydia can:

  • Spread to the testicles and epididymis causing extreme pain and inflammation
  • Cause infection affecting fertility

Chlamydia can also infect in both men and women:

  • The rectum with discomfort and discharge
  • The throat if having unprotected oral sex
  • The eyes if contact with semen or vaginal fluids, with redness, pain and conjunctivitis
  • Chlamydia is also the most common STI to cause SARA (sexually acquired reactive arthritis)

There is free testing available depending on where patients live, and available for 16 to 24 year olds. This test can be ordered online, or you can stock them in the pharmacy.

You can also advise anyone to see their local doctor or nurse, go to a GUM (Genito-Urinary Medicine) or sexual health clinic. Do familiarise yourself with those centres nearest to your pharmacy.

Join us again tomorrow to find out more about running a Chlamydia screening pharmacy.


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