In an effort to practice safer sex and avoid STIs, you might be asking yourself a serious question: can you get chlamydia from kissing? One of the most common sexually transmitted infections (STIs), chlamydia is caused by the bacteria chlamydia trachomatis.
If you’re reading this and think you might have chlamydia, it is understandable that you may be concerned. The good news is chlamydia is a treatable and curable STI. If you suspect that you or your partner may have contracted chlamydia, both parties should be tested and treated. This will not only prevent the bacteria from spreading or reinfecting one of you, but it will also help to avoid any serious complications.
The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) website calls chlamydia a “silent infection” because many people living with this infection experience few or no symptoms. The time period between exposure and symptoms (if they become apparent) may involve several weeks.
What are Chlamydia Symptoms?
The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) lists the following symptoms:
- Abnormal vaginal discharge
- Painful, burning sensation while urinating (both men and women)
- Spotting between periods
- Discomfort during sex
- A abnormal discharge from the penis (thick, yellow-white, milky, or watery)
- Lower back or abdominal pain
Both men and women engaging in rectal sex (or infection spread from the vagina) may experience these symptoms:
- Rectal discomfort
- Rectal bleeding or discharge
How can the risk of catching chlamydia be avoided?
The only way to completely avoid the risk of chlamydia is abstaining from all sex (vaginal, oral or anal). You can decrease your risks by being in a “long-term mutually monogamous relationship with a partner who has tested negative for STDs, including chlamydia” and using latex condoms correctly each time you have sex, as explained by HHS.
How to stay proactive in sexual behaviors
While you cannot contract chlamydia from kissing, having unprotected oral sex with a person with the STI can present the possibility for transmission. However, the use of protections such as dental dams and condoms can reduce this likelihood. Contrary to popular belief, anyone (regardless of gender) can get chlamydia.
How do you get chlamydia?
If you find yourself asking this question, you might be comparing chlamydia to other common STDs, such as herpes. While both may present with similar symptoms, you cannot get chlamydia from kissing as you could with the herpes virus. Chlamydia is also not acquired through sharing drinks, towels, handshakes or other casual contact.
Chlamydia is acquired via unprotected vaginal, anal or oral sex with an infected person, according to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC).
Dangers of Chlamydia during pregnancy
A chlamydia infection can cause preterm labor. A pregnant mother can pass the bacteria to her baby during vaginal birth as well. The baby can suffer eye infection and pneumonia. Chlamydia testing should be done on pregnant moms at their first prenatal visit and again at 37 weeks (before delivery) to protect mom and child. Pregnant moms who receive treatment for chlamydia should be retested three weeks and three months after antibiotic treatment.
What does chlamydia testing involve?
Different types of testing are available for chlamydia. Initial diagnosis is accomplished through either a swab or a simple urine test.
How is it treated?
Like many other types of bacterial infections, chlamydia can be treated and cured with the use of antibiotics prescribed by a doctor. Some of the medications for treatment outlined by the CDC include azithromycin and doxycycline.
Azithromycin is typically taken as a large dose once to cure the infection. Doxycycline is a smaller dose of antibiotics, usually taken twice daily for 1 to 2 weeks. Whichever course of treatment is best for you can be discussed with your healthcare provider.
How long do I wait for sex during and after antibiotic treatment?
If a single antibiotic dose is prescribed as treatment, the HHS recommends waiting for seven days after taking the antibiotic before having sex. If the antibiotic treatment involves seven days of prescribed medication, the HHS recommends abstaining from sex until all prescribed antibiotic is taken before having sex. This ensures the infection will not reemerge and no one else will become exposed to the bacteria. You should avoid sexual activity with an infected partner(s) while they undergo treatment.
Treatment for chlamydia should involve both sexual partner(s) to ensure best results.
While chlamydia can easily be treated, you can be infected with the STI more than once, so it is important to stay actively conscious of your and your partner(s) sexual health.
What happens during untreated Chlamydia?
According to the HHS, if chlamydia goes untreated, women risk the infection developing into pelvic inflammatory disease, fallopian tube blockages with resulting infertility and ectopic pregnancies due to scar tissue.
Untreated chlamydia in men can result in pain and swelling of the testicles with accompanying fever. While a rare result, chlamydia can cause infertility in men.
Untreated chlamydia in both men and women may also increase the chance of contracting and spreading HIV.
Get tested and treated for signs of chlamydia because a cure is available.
While you cannot get chlamydia from kissing, chlamydia is a very common STI which poses health risks to both men, women and newborns. Overall, it is important to stay proactive and get tested if you suspect that either you or a partner have any type of STD. This will not only protect you from any long-term effects, but it will benefit your partner(s) as well. If you are tested and the results come back positive, there is no need to worry; the infection can easily be treated and cured.
Here at Priority STD Testing, we make sure to provide all of our patients with a discrete, effective way to get tested and stay healthy. Contact us today for personalized support and to book an appointment at one of our nationwide testing centers.