Chlamydia is a sexually transmitted infection caused by the bacteria Chlamydia trachomatis. Chlamydia testing includes screening for the specific IgA, IgM, and IgG antibodies produced in response to the bacteria. Chlamydia can spread easily and usually does not show any signs or symptoms, which is why it is important to get tested for it.
Factors involved to understand the normal range of Chlamydia levels:
Normal results of the test involve negative results of IgG, IgM, and IgA antibodies.
Negative results indicate there is no infection at the time of the test. People with increased risk are advised to have regular screening done to check for possible infection as re-infection is a common aspect.
Presence of antibodies against chlamydia bacteria indicates active or previous infection. IgG antibodies act as marker for positive infection and this indicates past, current, or chronic infections. Positive IgM antibodies indicate recent infection. Presence of IgA antibodies indicate ongoing progression of a chronic infection.
Chlamydia infection is usually asymptomatic in most women and many men. If the symptoms develop, they show up 1-3 weeks after the initial contact with the bacteria.
In women, common symptoms of a positive infection include:
In men, common symptoms include:
The common symptoms in men and women include pain, discomfort, inflammation, itching, and bleeding from the rectal region. Infection in the eyes is also seen. This causes pain, discomfort, swelling, and discharge. In some cases, symptoms take months to manifest.
Certain situations can give false positive result on a blood test. Presence of antibodies against the bacteria may not always indicate a current infection. It can indicate a previous infection but cannot determine if the patient has infection at the time of the test. This may give a false positive result on the test.
Chlamydia is one of the most common sexually transmitted disease and affects a large population every year. The most common risk factors include unsafe and unprotected sexual activities, having multiple partners, co-infection, or previous infection with another sexually transmitted infections.
Precautionary steps such as using condoms during vaginal or anal sex, using condoms or dams to cover genitals, avoiding use and sharing of sex toys, having a monogamous relationship with an uninfected partner, and certain lifestyle changes, can help prevent the chances of being infected. The best way to prevent infections is to abstain from sexual activities completely.
If you are being treated for the infection, it is advised to take the medications regularly and avoid any sexual contact until the treatment is completed.
There are no risks associated with this test.
Anti-chlamydia antibody test is a simple blood test that detects the presence of antibodies produced against Chlamydia bacteria. However, the antibodies present could also be the result of a previous infection and may result in a false positive test. So, several other tests are often ordered along with this test to confirm the diagnosis of chlamydia infection.
Enzyme linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA), Enzyme immunoassay, cell culture, nucleic acid amplification tests (NAATs), detection of chlamydia by fluorescent antibody test method, and swabs samples test, are some of the tests ordered to confirm the diagnosis of the infection.
Retesting for chlamydia 3 months after the treatment is recommended. Screening for Chlamydia trachomatis specific antibodies is valuable in diagnosing asymptomatic pelvic inflammatory disease (PID) and tubal block.
Chlamydia infection is one of the most common sexually transmitted infections and is very easy to cure and treat. Treatment often includes a course of antibiotics. If left untreated, it can lead to cervicitis, an inflammation and swelling of the cervix and may also affect fertility. People at risk of chlamydia infection are advised to undergo annual check ups to screen for chlamydia and other potential sexually transmitted infections.
No specific preparation is required for the test. However, letting your health care practitioner know about any antibiotics or medications you are taking, any allergies, or any underlying medical condition you may have, is important. Vaginal creams or douches should not be used 24 hours before the test.
Testing for chlamydia is recommended even when there are no signs and symptoms. Early diagnosis can help in early treatment of the infection. The test is also ordered to check the effectiveness of an ongoing treatment.
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