What you should know about chlamydia
Chlamydia is the one of the most common sexually transmitted infections in New Zealand. If youíve had sex, especially without a condom, you may have caught it.
Some people think that if you have a sexually transmitted infection (STI for short) youíll get an itchy penis or a smelly discharge from your vagina.
Itís just as likely that you wonít have any symptoms at all. Youíll be thinking everythingís cool, while inside your body things are getting ugly.
Chlamydia can affect your genitals, your throat and inside your backside. If it's not treated, chlamydia can make you infertile. If you're female, it can damage your tubes and cause inflammations within your pelvis. Eventually, it could make sex painful and also lead to painful periods.
If you're male, chlamydia can damage your balls - even make them swell up. Not a good look. You might also get a burning, itchy feeling around the tip of your penis.
At worst, chlamydia can even make a man infertile.
What to do if you think you might have chlamydia
Talk to your school nurse (donít worry fellas, if the nurse is a woman, sheís heard it all before). Otherwise, talk to your doctor.
If you canít bring yourself to do that, you can always call Youthline and talk to one of their counsellors. You donít have to say who you are, and theyíll help you figure out what to do.
What happens if youíve got chlamydia?
Chlamydia is easily treated Ė you just pop a single dose of a drug called azithromycin. And thatís it. Next please!
No one else has to know, your health is a private matter between you and your doctor.
Not me, bro
Donít be so sure. New Zealand has one of the highest rates of chlamydia in the world (did we already say that?). Itís most common in teenagers and young adults.
Itís easy to pretend that it couldnít happen to you, or that itís not such a big deal if it does. But if you think like that, youíre saying that your health is less important than taking a simple test. No offence, but thatís not very smart.
The other reason to get tested is for the sake of your partner. Itís OK to have an STI. Itís not OK to pass it on to someone else.
How to avoid getting it.
You can get any STI, including chlamydia, from unprotected sex.
The only 100% protection is not to have sex. Otherwise, your best protection is to use condoms, avoid Ďsleeping aroundí, and if you think you might be infected get yourself checked out (and donít have sex until you do, in case you pass it on).
Your best protection against chlamydia is to use a condom during sex.