Some Common Questions
Why does this recommendation focus on young women?
The highest rate of chlamydia is in women age 15 to 19. Most chlamydia infections don't cause symptoms in women or men. Up to 40 percent of untreated chlamydia infections in women lead to pelvic inflammatory disease, which can cause infertility, a sad legacy that may not be apparent for years. Women infected with chlamydia are five times more likely to become infected with HIV.
Why Do You Need A Test Every Year?
Your partner can reinfect you after you've both been treated at once. People without symptoms of an infection often forget to take prescribed antibiotics on schedule or stop treatment before they should. The infection persists, and it can ping-pong back to you. You can catch chlamydia over and over again.
Treatment doesn't protect you from another chlamydia infection, even if you only have sex once or twice after you're treated.
Chlamydia testing is also a must for pregnant women. You should be tested as early in your pregnancy as possible. If your test is positive, you and your partner should both be treated. Also, if you start a new relationship during your pregnancy, tell your provider so you can get tested again.
The Good News
Uncomplicated chlamydia is easy to treat and cure with antibiotics. The treatment is the same for men and women. There are two main treatment options.
Azithromycin: This antibiotic can be given as a single dose. Because azithromycin is a one-time treatment, you won't need to worry whether your partner remembered to take all of it. Azithromycin is safe during pregnancy.
Doxycycline: You take this antibiotic in two doses - one in the morning and one at night - for seven days. Doxycycline is not safe during pregnancy.
Tips For Couples
Before you start treatment:
Ask your health care provider to write a prescription for both of you. Some providers do that routinely. Make sure your partner is not allergic to the medication.
During and after treatment:
Abstain from intercourse for the entire time you're on medication and for one week afterwards to prevent reinfection. If you and your partner finish the medication as directed, it is not necessary to go back to your provider for a recheck. If your symptoms persist, make an appointment to see your provider for further evaluation.