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Quick GuideSTDs Pictures Slideshow: Facts About Sexually Transmitted Diseases
How is chlamydia diagnosed?
Diagnosis of chlamydia relies upon a laboratory test to demonstrate that the organism is present, either through culture or identification of the genetic material of the bacteria. Culture is an older and more time-consuming method of identifying the bacteria and is no longer routinely used. For routine diagnostic purposes, rapid tests that identify the bacterial genetic material are commonly used. These are referred to as nucleic acid amplification tests, or NAATs. The specimen for NAATs can be obtained at the time of gynecologic examination by swabbing the cervix, but diagnostic tests can be run on urine samples or self-collected vaginal swabs.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that sexually active women 25 years of age and younger should be tested every year for chlamydia infection. Pregnant women should be tested, as wells as women over 25 who have new or multiple sex partners.
What is the treatment for chlamydia?
Chlamydia can be easily cured with antibiotic therapy. Antibiotics may be given as a single dose or a 7-day course. Women should abstain from sexual intercourse during the 7-day course of antibiotics or for 7 days after the single dose treatment to avoid spreading the infection to others. Azithromycin and doxycycline are antibiotics commonly used to treat chlamydia infection, but other antibiotics may be successfully used as well. Pregnant women may be safely treated for chlamydia infection with antibiotics (for example, azithromycin, amoxicillin, and erythromycin ethylsuccinate, but not doxycycline). Sex partners of a person diagnosed with chlamydia should also be tested and treated if necessary, to avoid reinfection and further spread. Women whose sex partners have not been treated are at a high risk for developing a reinfection.