Chlamydia is the most frequently reported bacterial sexually transmitted infection (STIs) in the United States [1]. Many cases of chlamydia are difficult to account for since a majority of infections are asymptomatic, causing most to skip testing.

Early identification of chlamydia is crucial since, when left untreated, chlamydia can eventually lead to pelvic inflammatory disease (PID), one of the leading causes of preventable infertility. Continue reading to learn how regular STI screening can help identify asymptomatic infections and enable timely treatment to lower the risk of fertility problems.

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How chlamydia impacts men and women differently

More than 1.6 million chlamydia cases were reported in 2021 [2]. The true number of cases is difficult to determine, because people may not seek testing due to a lack of symptoms. Although anyone can get chlamydia, this infection can affect men and women differently.

Chlamydia is one of the most common STIs in women, especially young women ages 15 to 24 [3]. Untreated chlamydia in women can cause serious health problems, including permanent damage to a woman’s reproductive system, making it difficult or impossible to get pregnant later.

In contrast, chlamydia rarely causes serious health problems in men [4]. The infection can cause a fever and pain in the tubes attached to the testicles. In rare cases, this can lead to infertility.

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What is pelvic inflammatory disease (PID)

Pelvic inflammatory disease (PID) is an infection that often occurs when sexually transmitted bacteria spread from the vagina to the uterus, fallopian tubes, or ovaries. About 10% to 15% of women with endocervical N. gonorrhoeae or C. trachomatis will develop PID [5].

Untreated PID can cause scar tissue and pockets of infected fluid to develop in the reproductive tract, potentially causing permanent damage to the reproductive organs. Possible complications from the damage include infertility, ectopic pregnancy, and chronic pelvic pain.

When diagnosed early, PID can be treated. However, treatment won’t undo any damage that has already happened to the reproductive system. The longer PID takes to be treated, the more likely it is that complications will occur. Additionally, those with PID have a higher chance of getting it again.

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Increase access to chlamydia testing with LetsGetChecked

The longer chlamydia is left untreated, the more damage can be done. Regular STI screening helps find infections that may not have symptoms. As chlamydia is asymptomatic in up to 70% to 75% of women, screening tests play a crucial role in its detection, prevention, testing, and treatment [6].

Although young women are at increased risk for chlamydia, studies have shown that young people at risk for STIs often don’t get tested [7]. LetsGetChecked’s infectious disease solutions make it easy for individuals to engage in testing and gain insights that enable better healthcare decisions and reproductive health. Our discreet and easy-to-use sexual health tests can meet individuals wherever they are to improve access to quality care and improve population health outcomes.