Chlamydia is the most common sexually transmitted infection in the United States. It is estimated that approximately five percent of the American adult population is infected. Moreover, about ten percent of the sexually active female teenagers are estimated to be infected. The infection is common among sexually active young adults, the urban populations, African Americans and members of the lower socioeconomic class. It is estimated that every year, over two and half million individuals are infected with Chlamydia in the United States. In many cases, women are able to be diagnosed and treated but get reinfected sooner or later since their partners are not always treated. This puts the women at a risk of health complications that can be detrimental to their reproductive health and may lead to infertility.

It is a bacterial infection caused by Chlamydia trachomatis. The bacterium enters the body through several ways which includes personal contact with an infected person mainly through sexual intercourse. Research indicates that vaginal, oral or anal sex can all lead to Chlamydia infection. The high infection rate among the sexually active population is largely because of the absence of symptoms which leads to unintentional transmission of the infection between sexual partners. The infection can also be transmitted from mother to child during birth. The bacterium has been found to be responsible for serious conditions among new born babies such as pneumonia and eye infection. These conditions are more common in developing countries. Individuals with large number of sexual partners are more likely to be infected with Chlamydia. Although the disease may not have severe symptoms, it can result into serious health complications if treatment is not given in time.

Chlamydia exhibit very rare symptoms and therefore it is considered a silent disease. About three quarters of women and more than fifty percent of men infected with Chlamydia do not show any symptoms. In very rare cases, some symptoms appear in the first one to three weeks after infections. These symptoms include vaginal discharges in women or burning sensation especially when urinating. Other symptoms may include discomfort during sex, lower abdominal pain and fever. In almost all infections, no diagnosis or treatment is done until the disease is at late stages and complications occur.

The cervix and the Urethra is always the first to be attacked by the bacteria. Research indicates that Chlamydia bacteria have the ability to establish a long-term biological association with the human cells. It affects the host cells by being over-dependent on the cell for basic nutrients supply. However, the bacteria may also infect the fallopian tubes and the womb but exhibit no serious symptoms. It should be noted that it is easier for the infections to be detected in women compared to men and therefore cases of reinfection are reported in women after treatment because their sexual partners are not treated. Untreated infections may have far reaching effects on the patient. Some cases of pelvic inflammatory diseases have been reported on the late stages of the infection. The late stages of the disease are also associated with pelvic pain which may become chronic, ectopic pregnancies or infertility as a result of scarring of fallopian tubes.

The treatment of Chlamydia involves administration of antibiotics. There are a number of alternative regimens that can be effectively used to treat the infection but the most recommended ones are two. The appropriate treatment recommended by the doctor depends on some factors. The patient can be administered a single dose or daily pills for seven days. However, the trade off between the two recommended regimens is the cost the single dose may be expensive compared to the daily pills but it is more convenient for patients who are likely to forget taking the pills every day. However, these two regimens have been found to be equally effective in the treatment of the infection. The doctor can therefore prescribe azithromycin or any other single dose antibiotic or prescribe doxicyline antibiotics which are taken every day for one week. However, beta lactam based antibiotics such as penicillin and cephalosporin are not effective in the treatment of Chlamydia though it can stop the growth of the organism.

It is important for the patient to understand what infection he or she is being treated for if the treatment will be effective. This is because many of the people infected with Chlamydia do not show any symptoms and if any, they are not severe. The patient understanding will ensure that he or she will finish the prescribed antibiotics dose even if the symptoms are no longer visible. This will also reduce the cases of reinfection by encouraging them to talk about it with their sexual partners. It will also provide a perfect opportunity for the patient to learn methods of protecting themselves against infections in the future.

Like any other sexually transmitted infection, it is possibly easy to protect oneself from Chlamydia infection. Prevention measures can be taken to reduce the cases of Chlamydia infections which include early diagnosis and treatment, safe sex and reducing the number of sexual partners (Debra, 2007).


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