Ingham County’s chlamydia infection rate is 639 infections per 100,000 population, as reported by the County Health Rankings (www.countyhealthrankings.org). This rate is nearly one and half times the Michigan rate and over seven times the national benchmark.
Chlamydia is caused by a bacteria, called Chlamydia trachomatis. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that the sypmtoms of chlamydia can be mild or even absent, but the complications can be serious.
Symptoms of chlamydial infections will usually appear 1 to 3 weeks after exposure, and can include vaginal or penile discharge, burning sensation during urination, pain or swelling in the genitals, painful intercourse, or vaginal bleeding. Women can develop infertility, the inability to get pregnant. The majority of infected people, however, will have no symptoms at all.
Chlamydia is transmitted during vaginal, anal or oral sexual intercourse. The greater number of sexual partners, the greater risk for infection. Teenage girls and young women are at particularly high risk due to the cervix not being fully matured.
Pregnant women with untreated chlamydial infections can have premature delivery, or pass the chlamydial infection to the baby’s eyes and respirtoray tracts. The CDC notes that chlamydia is the leading cause of early infant penumonia and pink eye.
The only way to avoid chlamydial infections is to abstain from sexual contact. Mutually monogamous sexual relationships, where both partners have been tested and are known to be uninfected, can also avoid chlamydial infections.
Consistent and correct condom use can reduce the risk of chlamydia transmission, but even those who use condoms every time with every partner can get chlamydia.
Chlamydia can be treated and cured with antibiotics. If you are being treated for chlamydia, abstain from sexual intercourse for seven days after completing antibiotics to avoid spreading the infection to your partners.
All sexually active women age 25 years and younger, and all pregnant women, should be screened for chlamydia annually. A screening test is also recommended for older women who have a new sexual partner or have multiple partners. Talk to your doctor to get an annual screening test if you meet this criteria.
If you have symptoms or have multiple sexual partners, do not wait for complications to seek help. Get tested today. The Ingham County Community Health Center at 5303 S. Cedar St in Lansing can provide confidential testing, counseling and treatment. The Planned Parenthood at 300 N. Clippert in Lansing can also provide confidential services.