Internationally known for its glory days NFL team, iconic self-titled soap opera, and 55 foot tall State Fair greeter, Dallas’ character embodies southern charm and charisma.  What isn’t well known about the Big D is its emergent public health concern: Chlamydia.

According to Dallas County Health & Human Services, Dallas County experienced a nearly 26% increase in Chlamydial infections from 2016 to 2017.  The data for 2018 is not yet available, but let’s hope last year’s diagnoses number was less than the 19,084 diagnoses in 2017.

What is Chlamydia?

Chlamydia is a sexually transmitted infection (STI) caused by the bacteria Chlamydia trachomatis. It is spread through vaginal, anal, and oral sex. The infection can be found in your throat, cervix, and rectum. Though easily cured, many women don’t seek treatment because Chlamydia is often asymptomatic. The only sure way to know your Chlamydial status is by getting tested.

Who is At-Risk for Contracting Chlamydia?

If you are sexually active, you are at-risk for contracting Chlamydia. That isn’t said to discourage you from having sex, just have safer sex! Young women under age 25 who have condomless sex are at a high risk for infection. The vagina’s physiology and moist environment is the perfect location for Chlamydia trachomatis to enter, grow, and thrive.

How Can You Reduce Your Risk?

WRAP IT UP! You should use condoms and dental dams the correct way during each sexual encounter. Do not rely on any other form of birth control – including the pull out method – to protect you against Chlamydia…because it won’t. Infection is transmitted via genital contact. Penetration, ejaculation, and orgasm does not have to occur for the transmission of infection.

What Happens if You Test Positive for Chlamydia?

Treatment for Chlamydia is quite simple. If you test positive for the infection, you’ll be prescribed antibiotics. Be sure to listen to your medical professional’s instruction on when you can resume sexual activity. 🙂

However, if you delay testing and are in fact, positive for Chlamydia, the infection can cause permanent damage to your reproductive organs. Early detection is key. You should get tested every year!

How Can You Help Dallas Lower Its Chlamydia Rate?

It starts with you! You can engage in meaningful conversations about safe sexual practices with your peers.

You can also normalize STI testing among your peers. Encourage your friends, classmates, and partners to know their status! STI testing is preventive healthcare. The sooner you know of your diagnosis, the lower your chance of spreading the infection.

The practice of safer sex will go a long way in improving your sexual wellness. Walk into the Oak Lawn or South Dallas Prism Health North Texas location for STI testing. Once you are tested, spread the word of its importance! Tell your peers to be empowered by knowing their status.