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Chlamydia; Prevention.

Protecting yourself from chlamydia requires the same care and attention needed to prevent other sexually transmitted diseases (STDs). If you have already been infected, you should be vigilant in preventing re-infection, which can increase your risk of infertility. Abstinence is one sure way not to become infected, as the spread of chlamydia is almost always limited to sexual contact. If you have sex, make sure you use a latex condom from the beginning to the end of sexual contact. Latex condoms offer the best available means of reducing your risk of contracting a STD, when they are used consistently and correctly. Also know that your risk for chlamydia infection increases with the more sexual partners you have. If you are sexually active and 25 years of age or younger, or if you are older but have any risk factors for chlamydia, you should ask your provider to test you at least once a year. Risk factors include being young and sexually active, having multiple sex partners, and having previous infection with other STDs.

According to the National Women's Health Information Center, a service of the Office on Women's Health in the US Department of Health and Human Services, there is no evidence at this time that chlamydia, gonorrhea or syphilis are sexually transmitted between women who are sexually active with women, but large studies have not been done. The majority of lesbian women are sexually exclusive with women (although 90 percent have been heterosexually active at some time): however, there are some lesbians who do have male partners, and are at risk for chlamydia, gonorrhea and syphilis and need to consider the following precautions to protect themselves from contracting these diseases.

Ask about the sexual history of current and future sex partners.

Reduce your number of sex partners.

Always use a condom from start to finish during any type of sex (vaginal, anal and oral). Use latex condoms rather than natural membrane condoms. If used consistently and correctly, latex condoms offer greater protection against sexually transmitted disease agents, including HIV.

Use only water-based lubricants. Oil-based lubricants such as petroleum jelly and vegetable shortening can destroy condoms. If you decide to use a spermicide along with a condom, it is preferable to use spermicide in the vagina according to manufacturer's instructions. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has proposed new warnings for the labels of over-the-counter vaginal contraceptives that contain the spermicide nonoxynol-9. The warning would state that vaginal contraceptives containing nonoxynol-9 do not protect against infection from HIV (human immunodeficiency virus, the AIDS virus) or other STDs. The FDA's warning also would advise consumers that the use of vaginal contraceptives containing nonoxynol-9 can increase vaginal irritation, which may actually increase the possibility of transmitting the AIDS virus and other STDs from infected partners.

Chlamydia Research

Scientists are looking for better ways to diagnose, treat and prevent chlamydia infections. Researchers supported by the National Institute of Health recently completed sequencing the genome for C. trachomatis. The sequence represents an encyclopedia of information about the organism. This-should provide scientists with important information as they try to develop a safe and effective vaccine. Developing topical microbicides (preparations that can be inserted into the vagina to prevent infection) that are effective and easy for women to use is also a major research focus.


Planned Parenthood. "Chlamydia: Questions and Answers." Revised March 2004. Accessed June 12, 2004.

Fact Sheet: New CDC Treatment Guidelines Critical to Preventing Health Consequences of Sexually Transmitted Diseases." May 9, 2002. Accessed June 12, 2004.

"FDA Proposes New Warning for Over-the-Counter Contraceptive Drugs Containing Nonoxynol-9." FDA Talk Paper, January 16, 2003. Accessed March 2003.

Facts & Answers about STDs: Chlamydia. " American Social Health Association. Accessed October 2001.

STD Surveillance 1999. National Profile. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2002). Sexually transmitted diseases treatment guidelines 2002. MMWR, 2002, 51(No. RR-6).

"Genital infections United States, 1995." Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. MMWR. March 7, 1997. Vol. 46 (9).

Connett, H. "What you need to know about chlamydia." STD Advisor, 1999; Vol. 2. Insert.

"The Hidden Epidemic: Confronting Sexually Transmitted Diseases." Institute of Medicine. Washington, D.C. National Academy Press. 1997.

"Chlamydia in the United States" Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Fact Sheet. Updated Aug. 2001. Accessed Sept. 2001.

"Chlamydial Infection" National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, National Institutes of Health. Fact Sheet. Updated Jan. 2001. Accessed Sept. 2001.

Tarja A. et al. "Serotypes of Chlamydia trachomatis and Risk for Development of Cervical Squamous Cell Carcinoma" JAMA 2001;285: 47-51.

"Lesbian Health" The National Women's Health Information Center. 1998. Accessed Nov. 2002.

Keywords: chlamydia, sexually transmitted, sexually transmitted disease, condom, condoms, latex condom, latex condoms, lesbian, risk for chlamydia, spermicide, nonoxynol-9
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Publication:NWHRC Health Center - Chlamydia
Date:Sep 14, 2005
Previous Article:Chlamydia; Treatment.
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