Here, you’ll learn about Chlamydia testing, how it’s done, who should get tested, and how long is the Chlamydia test result time. Read on!
How Does the Chlamydia Test Work?Chlamydia symptoms are not enough to confirm the infection. These symptoms vary between men and women and are often similar to urinary tract infections and other STDs. Hence, the only way to confirm Chlamydia infection is to conduct the necessary test. The test justifies if the symptoms presented are Chlamydia or other diseases. Also, the test helps to detect reinfection in high-risk patients and mother-to-child transmission.
The Chlamydia test aims to identify the causative bacteria Chlamydia trachomatis in a test sample. The sample used for the test is either urine or a swab of body fluids collected from the anus, cervix, eyes, throat, urethra, or vagina. Collection of the sample can be done personally or by medical personnel.
Types of Chlamydia TestsTests for chlamydia are divided into laboratory-based and point of care (POC) tests, the former being less rapid but more sensitive than the latter.
There are several laboratory tests such as enzyme immunoassays, cell culture, transformation tests, direct fluorescent antibody, and Nucleic Acid Amplification Test (NAAT). However, the two major laboratory tests are the NAAT and cell culture. These tests aim to show evidence of the causative bacteria Chlamydia trachomatis.
NAAT is the most accurate and most used because there is less tendency for false-positive results. The test identifies the genetic material (DNA or RNA) of C.trachomatis. The NAAT can be conducted using urine samples or swabs taken from potential areas which can be infected like the vagina, rectum, eyes, or urethra.
Although cell culture tests are not frequently used, they can be applied in suspected pediatric chlamydia infection and treatment failure or reinfection cases. The cell culture helps to analyse and study better treatment options in cases of initial treatment failure. Samples of swabs from the rectum, cervix, or urethra are collected and cultured with specific cells. If the cells are not infected with C.trachomatis, the result is negative.
How Long Does A Chlamydia Test Take?As discussed earlier, there are different types of chlamydia tests. Thus, the chlamydia test result time varies among these tests. POC tests are rapid and take about 30 minutes to get results. Depending on the type of test, laboratory chlamydia test results take about a week after specimen collection. However, results may take longer, especially in cell culture tests, because you need to watch for bacteria growth.
Chlamydia test results can either be positive or negative, inferring the presence of C.trachomatis in the sample. A positive result means you have a chlamydia infection and thus, need to be treated with antibiotics. Once diagnosed with chlamydia, you should ensure your partner is also tested. If the result is negative, there is no evidence of C. trachomatis. However, you should wait till your test result is negative before indulging in sexual activities.
Preparing for a chlamydia testCertain precautions may be prescribed before taking a chlamydia test. However, it depends on the sample to be collected. For example, a urine test will require that you don’t urinate for about 1-2 hours before the test. Also, you’ll need to avoid using antibiotics, douches, and vaginal creams.
Who Should Take the Chlamydia Test?Whether you are showing symptoms or not, once you are sexually active, you are at a high risk of contracting infections. Hence, you should take regular tests for chlamydia and other STDs at least once a year
A chlamydia test can also be conducted a few months after the initial treatment to ensure no treatment failure. Again, ensure that every one of your sexual partners takes the test for early diagnosis and prevent complications and further spread of the disease
SummaryChlamydia infection requires early diagnosis and treatment to avoid complications affecting fertility. Therefore, whether you are showing symptoms or not, it is essential to take regular chlamydia and other STDs tests if you are sexually active.
- Max A Chernesky. (2005). The laboratory diagnosis of Chlamydia trachomatis infections https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2095010/#__ffn_sectitle
- Chlamydia detailed fact sheet. (2021) https://www.cdc.gov/std/chlamydia/stdfact-chlamydia-detailed.htm
- Carlos F Grillo-Ardila et al. (2020). Rapid point of care test for detecting urogenital Chlamydia trachomatis infection in nonpregnant women and men at reproductive age https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/31995238/
- Chlamydia test. (2020) https://medlineplus.gov/lab-tests/chlamydia-test/