People infected with chlamydia are much more common than most people realize. Chlamydia is one of the most prevalent STIs in the United States. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention advises that 1 in 5 people in the US was infected with an STI in 2018.
Chlamydia affects both sexes but is more predominant among women aged 14-24 who are sexually active. In 2020, there were over 1.5 million reported cases of chlamydia in the US alone.
Chlamydia easily spreads because it is typically asymptomatic and requires contact with infected sexual fluids by an uninfected person for the infection to occur.
This means that people can have chlamydia and infect others without knowing they have it.
This is why regular chlamydia testing is recommended for sexually active people to keep their sexual health intact. Read this article to know the best at home chlamydia test you can take.
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What is chlamydia?
This infection is typically triggered by the bacteria chlamydia trachomatis and is transferred when an uninfected person contacts the sexual fluids of an infected person.
Chlamydia is typically spread through contact with bacteria during sexual activities. The sexual activities include vaginal, anal, oral, or penile sex and sex with toys.
For instance, you can get chlamydia from using an infected person’s sex toy that hasn’t been washed properly. This is why sexual health experts suggest using shared sex toys with a condom or cleaning them thoroughly.
In addition, you can get chlamydia if the infected fluids find their way into your eyes. While chlamydia is easily curable with antibiotics, it is vital to be aware of the infection as early as possible.
Leaving the infection untreated can cause irreparable long-term damage to a person’s reproductive organs, sometimes leading to fatality.
Pregnant women with chlamydia can give the infection to their newborn babies during delivery. This could result in health complications like conjunctivitis and pneumonia for the infant. This is why regular STI testing is crucial.
Read also: What Are the Risks of Untreated Chlamydia?
Why you should test for chlamydia
Chlamydia is significantly more widespread than most ailments in the US. This level of prevalence means that the infection was present in 1 out of 4 women in 2020.
With the ability of the infection to occur without visible symptoms, regular testing is required for sexually active young people.
Without testing, it might be virtually impossible for some people to detect that they have chlamydia unless visible symptoms show.
Leaving chlamydia untreated can result in long-term catastrophic consequences for a person’s reproductive system, especially women. Chlamydia can cause infertility in men and women.
In addition, women with chlamydia are at a greater risk of getting pelvic inflammatory diseases or an ectopic pregnancy.
At Home Chlamydia Test: Who should test for chlamydia?
According to the CDC, sexually active young people aged 14-24 are the population most at risk of getting chlamydia.
Women younger than 25 years and who are sexually active should ensure they get tested for chlamydia at least once every year.
In addition, people older than 25 years with risk factors like previously having an STD, an infected sexual partner, or multiple sex partners should get tested regularly even if symptoms of the infection don’t surface.
How does an at home chlamydia test work?
To perform a chlamydial test, you must get a fluid sample from the body part you suspect is infected. This can include putting your urine in a sample cup or using a special swab to collect the required sample.
So, how does an at home chlamydia test really work? Typically, there are two ways to acquire the required sample for STI.
A swab. Suppose you’re testing with a healthcare provider. They may use a swab or brush to collect cells from the infected body part, usually the genital area (vagina or urethra).
This process may cause minor discomfort. Sometimes, your doctor may swab your rectum, eyes, throat, or cervix, depending on the suspected location of the infection.
Your doctor may also instruct you on how to swab yourself to collect the required sample for your STD testing successfully.
Alternatively, you can collect your first urine of the day in a sterile cup to carry out the test. To get an accurate result, you must avoid urinating for at least 2 hours before collecting the sample for the test.
Usually, the results are ready in one day. In addition, some tests work fast and may present results in 90 minutes.
At-home chlamydial test kits are also handy in how they work for patients. With these kits, you can get a urine or swab sample from the convenience of your home and send it to a lab for testing.
However, you must ensure you follow all the instructions given to the letter for an effective process.
How to prepare for a chlamydial test
To adequately prepare for a chlamydial test, specify the sample you’ll send to the lab for testing. The type of sample required would determine the steps you need to take to prepare for the test.
For example, a woman may be necessary to avoid antibiotic medications and vaginal creams or douches for at least 24 hours before the test.
You should also ask your doctor if there are specific instructions to adhere to before the test.
The Best At-Home Chlamydial Tests
There are several at-home chlamydia tests available on the market. Below is a breakdown of some of the most reliable and popular options according to Healthline.
Best budget-friendly: Everlywell
For medical attention: LetsGetChecked
For self-collection: Nurx
For rapid results: MyLAB Box
For people looking to get pregnant: QuestDirect
Complete STI check: STD Check
Discreet option: Priority STD
When to see a doctor
If the symptoms of a chlamydial infection persist after testing and treatment or you come in contact with someone who has chlamydia again, you must inform your doctor. Women are more likely to have asymptomatic chlamydia than men, so it’s vital to go for regular testing.
Frequently Asked Questions
Most times, some people can carry out a test within a couple of weeks of exposure to an infection. Every sexually transmitted disease has its incubation period before it starts to show symptoms. For chlamydia, when symptoms show, they usually show between 1 to 3 weeks of exposure to the infection. Some people don’t notice symptoms until many months or years after exposure. It is crucial to carry out a chlamydia or STD test regularly if you’re sexually active.
If you test positive, that indicates you have chlamydial infection, and should immediately contact your doctor for treatment. Alternatively, a negative result means you are not infected with chlamydia as when your sample was collected for tests.
If you test positive, it is essential to commence treatment immediately, as untreated chlamydia can result in unwanted complications.
Yes. At-home test kits are reliable. At-home tests are as reliable as tests carried out in the laboratory because the urine and vaginal swab collected for the tests remain stable at room temperature for many days. The results from these are known to be highly reliable.
Yes. You can purchase a chlamydial test kit over the counter. In addition, you can select panel kits that test for multiple STDs or just specific for chlamydial tests. A general STD panel may include syphilis, trichomoniasis, HIV, chlamydia, and gonorrhea tests.