7 Chlamydia Myths that Are Dangerous for Your Health
There are plenty of ways you can find out what you need to know about different STIs. You could ask your friends or at your local clinic, or if you don't want anyone to know, you can look it up on the internet.
The clinic will know what they're talking about when it comes to STIs, but how do you know what you find on the internet or what your friends tell you is right? Some of the most common myths about chlamydia can be dangerous for your health, so this week we’re putting the record straight.
Myth: Your body will get rid of chlamydia on its own, just like when you catch a cold.
Fact: Your body can’t get rid of chlamydia on its own.
This myth can be a dangerous one. It’s very rare that your immune system will be able to tackle chlamydia on its own and cure you of it by itself. If it’s detected early enough, chlamydia can be treated with antibiotics.
If you don’t get treated for chlamydia, it could develop into something very nasty. Untreated chlamydia can result in Pelvic Inflammatory Disease (PID) in women – which can cause infertility and higher risk of ectopic pregnancy – and epididymitis and infertility in men too.
Myth: Once you’ve had chlamydia, you’re immune and can’t get it again.
Fact: You won’t be immune to chlamydia and could catch it again.
Chlamydia doesn't work like chick pox. You won’t be immune once you've had it and you'll be able to catch it more than once if you don't protect yourself. If you keep putting yourself at risk by having unprotected sex with partners who don't know whether they're STD free or not, you could catch chlamydia over and over.
It's recommended that if you or your partner tests positive for chlamydia, you should both abstain from sex until the infection has been treated and your doctor says it's safe.
Myth: You can’t catch chlamydia through oral or anal sex because they’re safer.
Fact: Pretty much all the STIs you can catch through unprotected vaginal sex can be passed on through anal and oral sex too if you don’t use adequate protection. That goes for chlamydia too.
If you use a condom correctly, every time, from start to finish, you’ll greatly reduce your risk of catching chlamydia. To reduce that risk even further, you should think about getting tested before becoming intimate with a new partner.
Myth: You can’t catch chlamydia if you’ve only had sex once.
Fact: If you have sex once with a partner who’s got chlamydia, you've got around a 30% chance that you’ll pick up the infection from that one time. That’s all it takes.
Some of the long term conditions chlamydia can cause are so severe you could be left infertile, so it’s important to understand that when it comes to passing on chlamydia, once is enough.
Myth: You don’t need to get tested for chlamydia unless you’ve had a lot of partners.
Fact: Whether you’ve had one or one hundred partners, you should think about getting tested regularly for STIs.
It doesn’t matter how many partners you’ve had, if you’ve had unprotected sex you could have put yourself at risk of catching chlamydia. Like we’ve already said, that one time could be enough for you to have it, and you might not be able to tell either.
Chlamydia is the most common STI in the UK, especially among 16-24 year olds. It’s recommended to get tested regularly – around once a year – or every time you change partner.
Myth: You’d know if you or your partner has chlamydia.
Fact: You might not always be able to tell whether someone has chlamydia or not. Not everyone who’s got chlamydia has symptoms, and if they do they could be mistaken for something else.
50% of men and 75% of women with chlamydia don’t have any symptoms. Some of the symptoms, such as a burning sensation when you pee, could be mistaken for something else.
Myth: You can catch chlamydia from a toilet seat.
Fact: Even though this one seems like it could be true, it’s not.
The bacteria that cause don’t last very well outside of the human body, so it’s doubtful that they would survive long enough on the loo seat for you to pick up an infection when you sit down.