I have a lot of promiscuous friends. They enjoy living a lifestyle that is comparable to Sex and the City and sometimes aren’t the smartest when it comes to taking care of their health.
One of my friends, we will call Jules, lived a life of random hookups. I never knew why she felt the need to consistently reassure herself that she was wanted by having to make the “walk of shame” every morning. Jules used to call me bragging about her life and her latest conquest. I don’t know if she was trying to validate her own insecurities or to make me feel bad, but either way, I would always ask her if she was being safe.
The answer was always the same.
“Why? Everyone else gets tested, so why should I?”
One day, karma came and kicked Jules in the face. Jules had to get a physical to leave on a Humanitarian Mission. The test results came back and Jules learned she had Chlamydia.
Chlamydia, a Sexually Transmitted Disease (STD) is on the rise. There is no easy way to say this, except to state the cold truth. As of 2009, over 1,200,000 cases of Chlamydia were reported to the state health departments.
Chlamydia is a fairly new STD and was first reported in 1984. Since then the rate of diagnosis of Chlamydia in men and woman has increased at a steady rate of 200% to 400%. Women are seemingly more susceptible to this disease as three times more woman than men diagnosed each year.
Chlamydia can only be tested using urine so many people who are infected do not know that they are. This seems like it might also be a cause of the high rate of woman infections.
Chlamydia, also known as the “silent disease,” doesn’t normally manifest itself in a physical presence and can take weeks to diagnose after being infected. However, if the symptoms do appear, they can be signs like swelling, discharge or most commonly itching around the swimsuit area.
Many people joke about the “Clap” and do the accompanying hand motions, but in reality, people who suffer from this disease can have serious consequences if not treated.
Women can get Pelvic Inflammatory Disease (PID) which can lead to permanent damage of the female reproductive system. This damage can increase the risk of developing HIV, chronic pelvic pain and infertility.
Men seem to catch a break with this disease since their symptoms can lead to rare infections in the epididymis (the slide of life for babies) which can cause fevers, sterility and pain.
Expecting mothers who contract Chlamydia are in danger of going into premature labor and infecting their newborns with Chlamydia in the eyes and lungs or pink eye.
The best way, and possibility easiest, to diagnose the “Clap” is through a urine test. The worst way is by taking a specimen from the infected area.
Once you have been diagnosed, take a dip in the local antibiotics pool and clean yourself up. This disease is very contagious if you are sexually active and needs to be treated immediately when caught.
The best form of preventing all of this boring medical mumbo jumbo is to abstain from any sexual activity, use proper protection or get tested regularly.
Jules learned the hard way that having the mentality of “it won’t happen to me” isn’t always the best protection.
Be smart about your choices and let’s all give Jules a round of applause for having to learn this the hard way.
For more information about STD’s visit cdc.gov/STD/ or visit your local Planned Parenthood.