What is a Silent STD?

Chlamydia is a sexually transmitted disease (STD) caused by bacteria called Chlamydia trachomatis. It is the most commonly reported bacterial STD in the United States, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). It is known as a “silent” illness because it rarely causes symptoms. Two of these silent STIs are chlamydia and gonorrhea.

Depending on your age and risk factors, your gynecologist may screen you for both STIs at your annual checkup. This is because if you have one of these infections and it isn't treated, it can cause infertility later on. A silent STD is an infection that has no symptoms. Most people who have chlamydia don't have any symptoms that indicate an infection.

In fact, approximately 75% of women and 50% of men have no symptoms. Therefore, a chlamydia infection may go undetected or treated for a long period of time, silently damaging the body's reproductive system. If the first thing that comes to mind when you hear herpes is painful red sores, think again. Some refer to chlamydia as a “silent infection”.

This is because most people who are infected have no symptoms or have abnormal physical exam results. Studies indicate that the proportion of people with chlamydia who have symptoms varies depending on the study environment and methodology. Two modeling studies estimate that about 10% of men and 5 to 30% of women with a confirmed infection have symptoms 21,22 The incubation period for chlamydia is not clear. Because of the body's relatively slow replication cycle, symptoms may not appear until several weeks after exposure in people with symptoms.

Doctors agree that regular screening and protective measures, that is, condoms, are vital for sexually active people to avoid contracting STDs or STIs. This is all the more important considering that condoms cannot protect against all STDs and that there are STDs without symptoms, some of which can cause serious harm if left untreated. While the terms STDs and STIs are still used interchangeably, it's worth noting that many of these ailments are, in fact, infections that don't present any symptoms and can be cured with antibiotics. But in reality, that number may be higher, since there are a number of STDs without symptoms, leaving people undiagnosed for months or even years.

Anyone who has oral, anal, or vaginal sex with a partner who has recently been diagnosed with an STD should see a medical professional. According to the CDC, only about 30 percent of people with the STD have any symptoms, so it's very likely that you can have this STD without symptoms. It's quite possible to have a sexually transmitted disease without symptoms, so telling teens that they'll know when they're exposed to something is unrealistic and irresponsible. In fact, many STDs can be cured with one round of antibiotics, while others can be controlled with medication.

Relationships between perceived stigma related to STDs, shame related to STDs and screening for STDs in a family sample of adolescents. While routine screening for trichomoniasis is not recommended for everyone, CDC does recommend screening in certain high-risk areas of the country and in people at high risk of infection (for example, if you have multiple sexual partners, have had sexually transmitted diseases in the past, or are a sex worker). However, there are some STDs that are actually known to be asymptomatic, meaning you'll never know you have them until they've spread or caused other side effects. If you don't have symptoms, continue to practice safe sex (whatever that means for your situation) and talk to your partners about your STD status and screening history. While some STDs, such as HIV and syphilis, can stay in the body for a while before symptoms appear, they are generally known to be symptomatic.

For all these reasons, many organizations prefer to use the term sexually transmitted infections (STIs) instead of STDs, since a disease is defined as a condition that impairs normal functioning and usually has symptoms or signs which is not usually the case with these infections. It's important to remember that not all sexually transmitted diseases will make themselves known through visible signs or symptoms. Because of this fact it's essential for sexually active individuals to practice safe sex and get tested regularly in order to detect any potential infections early on before they cause serious harm.

Ethel Kosowski
Ethel Kosowski

Passionate explorer. Avid pop culture evangelist. Amateur food buff. Amateur pop culture lover. Amateur beer trailblazer.

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