Chlamydia Test and Diagnosis
However certain you may be you have contracted Chlamydia, the only reliable indicator of an existing infection is a Chlamydia test. The test procedure is fairly simple, painless (only mild discomfort may be felt by some patients), harmless and quick. Studies have shown that Chlamydia tests are reliable in approximately 95 % of cases. Naturally, the Chlamydia testing procedure is different in men and women:
For men: The doctor inserts the swab, intended for collecting testing samples, in the urethra or the rectum. As mentioned, mild discomfort may be felt, but most patients find the procedure completely pain-free. Samples may also be taken from the rectum. Furthermore, urine samples can be tested for Chlamydia.
For women: As the woman has her feet propped in stirrups, the doctor has access to the cervix, from which samples are collected with a swab. Likewise, samples may be taken from the rectum or urine. Note: Pap smears, also taken from the cervix, are not Chlamydia diagnostic tests, since they detect pre-cancerous and cancerous processes in the female reproductive system. However, women who have abnormal or suspicious PAP smear results are advised to undergo Chlamydia tests, since the two processes often go hand in hand.
In particular, sexually active adults aged under 25, women and men who belong to high risk groups (due to promiscuity, not using protection etc.)and pregnant women (since there is a considerable risk of infecting the child during pregnancy or childbirth) are considered target groups for annual Chlamydia screenings. Nevertheless, certain medical experts advise annual screenings even for adolescents, owing to the frequency of the disease.
People wishing to take Chlamydia tests are advised to test for other sexually transmitted diseases, as well, since Chlamydia is often accompanied by other infections.
There are several types of Chlamydia tests:
Nucleic Acid Amplification Tests (NAAT) – very accurate and sensitive; intended for locating the DNA material of Chlamydia bacteria
DNA probe tests – quite accurate, but not as sensitive as NAAT; locate the DNA material
Enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA, EIA) – simple and quick; locate Chlamydia antigens that prompt the immune system to battle Chlamydia
Direct fluorescent antibody test (DFA) – simple and quick; locates Chlamydia antigens as the ELISA test
Chlamydia culture – more expensive, compared to other tests and the results are obtained after a longer wait; Chlamydia bacteria are grown in a special cup
Chlamydia diagnoses are divided into the following two groups:
Normal – Chlamydia antigens, DNA or cultures are not present in the sample
Abnormal – Chlamydia antigens, DNA or cultures are located in the provided sample
If the patient is found to have been infected with Chlamydia, the treatment process ought to commence as soon as possible. Antibiotics are used in the treatment of Chlamydia and have proven to be very effective in eradicating the disease. Retesting is advised three months after the ending of the treatment, since the disease has the tendency of reoccurring.