You Could Have the Most Common STI in the U.S. and Not Know It

Chlamydia is the most common reportable STI in the United States.

Over half of people in the U.S. will get a Sexually Transmitted Infection (STI) during their lifetime, yet most adults don’t know how common STIs are — or that they’re on the rise. MFP’s STI Series aims to bridge that knowledge gap. Armed with the facts, we can bust stigma and stay healthy!

“Asymtomatic.” The word’s usage has undoubtedly skyrocketed as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. But us repro health experts have been throwing around the term for ages – because unfortunately, many common sexually transmitted infections (STIs) don’t cause any symptoms.

Chlamydia — the most common STI in the United States, according to the CDC — is one of these “silent” STIs. Most people who have chlamydia don’t know it. Approximately 1 in 20 sexually active young women aged 14-24 has chlamydia. In Maine and across the country, chlamydia infections are trending upwards, along with other STIs.

It’s no big deal to test for and treat chlamydia, which is spread through unprotected vaginal, anal, and oral sex, affects people of all genders, and disproportionately affects Black women. Maine Family Planning offers easy, quick, low-cost STI testing, and we even give patients the option to test at home for certain STIs, including chlamydia.

Left untreated, chlamydia can have serious short- and long-term health consequences, including:

  • Pelvic Inflammatory Disease (PID)
  • Infertility
  • Pregnancy and birth complications
  • Reactive arthritis             
  • Increased risk of acquiring HIV
Eek! Sounds scary.

It’s not! Once diagnosed, chlamydia is easily cured with antibiotics. Our compassionate, non-judgmental providers can help you safely (and anonymously, if you wish) let sexual partners know. It’s important to remember that STIs are very common and nothing to be embarrassed about.

Who should get tested for chlamydia?

The CDC recommends yearly chlamydia screening of all sexually active women younger than 25, as well as older women with risk factors such as new or multiple partners, or a sex partner who has a sexually transmitted infection. Are you wondering, “should I be tested for chlamydia?” Talk to your health care provider!

How do I get tested for chlamydia?

Call MFP (207-922-3222) or check out our user-friendly Virtual Visits Hub. MFP operates 18 warm and inviting clinics around Maine and we also offer STI care via telehealth. We see patients regardless of their ability to pay. Chlamydia test results usually take about a week.

How do I prevent chlamydia?

Whether you’ve had chlamydia already or want to prevent future transmission, the best way to protect yourself from this and many other STIs is to use a new internal or external condom or dental dam every time you have sex. Also remember to wash your toys! Safer sex for the win.

If any of this information is new to you, please share it with a friend or loved one! Increased knowledge empowers us to live safe and healthy lives, on our own terms.