Chlamydia landed a role on this season of HBO’s Insecure and I was happy. Why? Well, because Lawrence was living that free, unprotected, and frankly reckless life, but not even TV Land could save him from the consequences. Props, Issa Rae (she’s the show’s creator.)
There are a lot of misconceptions about this infection out there. Who would we be here at The Gyneco-bLogic if we didn’t tackle myths, and reveal truths? Let’s get to it. This game is called…
Chlamydia True or False
You’ll know if you have Chlamydia.
False. For women, up to 85% of infections are asymptomatic. In men, up to 40% are without symptoms. How do most people find out? By getting periodic screening. The CDC recommends screening at regular intervals and especially if becoming intimate with a new partner.
If you treat Chlamydia, you are cured of any and all consequences.
False. While antibiotics will often eradicate the infection itself, the residual effects can still persist, like pelvic pain or fertility issues, especially in the setting of pelvic inflammatory disease, or PID.
A partner who has Chlamydia will absolutely pass the infection on to you.
False. However, if you find out that a partner has the infection, while it is important to get tested right away, we do treat women presumptively for the infection in hopes of shortening it’s duration and minimizing the risk of PID or fertility issues later on. Also if you are diagnosed with Gonorrhea, we treat presumptively for Chlamydia.
It takes up to 3 weeks for a repeat Chlamydia test to be negative AND a person can retest to make sure it is gone.
True. While treatment should be effective by 7 days from initiation (which is the minimum duration one should obstain from intercourse,) the bacteria can linger in the vagina/cervix for up to 3 weeks. Since many Chlamydia tests are DNA tests these days rather than cultures, that means that the repeat test would still be positive.
Also, a person CAN request a test-of-cure a week after about 3 weeks to make sure the infection is gone, however since the antibiotic treatment for chlamydia is 97% effective, a test of cure is not necessary. A RETEST IS generally performed 2-3 months after treatment to make sure the person was not re-infected. All partners should be informed and treated before resuming any sexual relationship. Don’t forget, a person can get chlamydia in their throat.
A nickname for Chlamydia is The Clap.
False. A common misconception, but The Clap is a reference to Gonorrhea rather than Chlamydia, though as I mentioned, the two can often go hand in hand. I propose the following nicknames for Chlamydia.
- The Wind- Because you can’t always feel it, even though it is there.
- The News- Because getting that diagnosis is news you can use.
- The Smackdown- Enough said.
I want to applaud Issa Rae and character Lawrence of Insecure on HBO for not only including the diagnosis in the storyline, but showing the uncomfortable, yet necessary process of informing his previous partners. Big Ups to owning up to THE SMACKDOWN.
Wear a condom next time, Lawrence.
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Dr. Wendy Goodall McDonald is a board certified OBGYN. She began practicing medicine in 2007 and now uses her extensive knowledge and growing following to increase health awareness in a fun and viral way. She is the founder of The Gyneco-blogic and an author of numerous books for adult and childhood health education and social growth. For more, check me, I mean her out at dreverywoman.com