The most common myths
Myth 1: You do not need treatment for chlamydia as it goes away on its own.
Fact: It is highly unlikely for chlamydia to go away on its own. Although the symptoms may subside temporarily, the infection persists in the body in the absence of treatment (subclinical infection). The body’s immunity cannot destroy chlamydia infection. It is important to seek diagnosis and timely treatment to get rid of the infection.
If treatment is not sought, chlamydia can lead to serious complications such as:
- Pelvic inflammatory diseases or PID (infection of a woman’s uterus, ovaries, and fallopian tubes)
- Fitz-Hugh-Curtis Syndrome (inflammation of the liver capsule and surrounding tissue)
- Untreated chlamydia in pregnant women can cause serious consequences such as pre-term delivery (delivery before 37 weeks of pregnancy) and ophthalmia neonatorum (conjunctivitis) and pneumonia in the newborn.
- Reactive arthritis (joint inflammation) may develop in men and women following chlamydial infection.
- Males have lesser health conditions linked to chlamydia as compared to females. Chlamydia infection can sometimes spread to the tube that carries sperm from the testicles, causing pain and fever. Rarely, chlamydia can cause infertility in males.
- Infection with chlamydia can increase the chances of infection with other STDs like HIV
Myth 2: You can get chlamydia from a toilet seat
Fact: Chlamydia trachomatis, the bacteria that causes chlamydia infection, cannot survive outside the human body. Thus, you cannot get chlamydia from a toilet seat. Chlamydia can also not be transmitted through other means of casual contact, such as hugging, kissing, or by sharing towels, bed linen, swimming pools, or cutlery.
Myth 3: Once you get cured for chlamydia you cannot be re-infected
Fact: Once cured, it is possible to be re-infected with chlamydia since you won’t be immune after the infection. Once you have had chlamydia if you don't protect yourself by following practices such as the use of latex male condoms you have chances of getting re-infected. These condoms, when used consistently and correctly, can reduce the risk of getting or giving chlamydia. You must be re-tested about three months after you are treated, even if your sex partner(s) got treated for chlamydia.
Myth 4: You should share your chlamydia medications with your partner
Fact: You must not share medications for chlamydia with anyone, not even your partner. Chlamydia is curable with the right treatment. Testing and treatment is the best approach to get rid of chlamydia and prevent complications. You need to take all of the medication prescribed by your doctor to cure the infection.
Myth 5: You can get chlamydia by coming in contact with a freshly infected droplet in a swimming pool
Fact: Merely coming in contact with the droplet just because it touched your skin or buttocks is not sufficient for you to get the infection. The bacteria need to come in contact with suitable body tissue such as the cervix, urethra, or cornea of the eye to survive.
Myth 6: You cannot get chlamydia through oral or anal sex
Fact: Almost all the sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) including chlamydia can be transmitted through vaginal, oral, and anal sex. Thus, even gay, bisexual, and other men who may have sex with men can get the infection as chlamydia can spread through oral and anal sex. Using condoms and dental dams can help prevent the infection.
Myth 7: You cannot get chlamydia if you had sex only once
Fact: you are at risk of chlamydia infection even if you had sex only once. If your partner was infected you can get the infection too.
Myth 8: You cannot get chlamydia from your partner if they do not have any symptoms
Fact: Many times you won’t know if your partner is infected with chlamydia. Symptoms of chlamydia infection often go unnoticed. Some people experience symptoms within a few weeks of exposure (unprotected sex) while for others symptoms may take months to appear. Sometimes the symptoms disappear on their own but the infection persists (subclinical chlamydia)
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