Diagnosis of chlamydia often relies on screening tests since most people have no symptoms. Screening tests are used on high-risk groups of people who show no signs or symptoms of infection. This is done to maximize early diagnosis and treatment of sexually transmitted diseases (STDs).
Your doctor may also suspect chlamydia based on your symptoms (if you have them).
Testing can be done on fluid from a swab from the penis, cervix, throat, or rectum, or with a urine test. The fluid is often tested with nucleic acid amplification tests (NAAT). This test can also diagnose gonorrhea .
If you think you have been exposed to chlamydia, it may make you feel anxious or embarrassed to seek care from your doctor. Home test kits are widely available, but they are not as accurate as testing at your doctor's office, which can lead to a missed diagnosis. If you choose to use a test kit, it is important to follow-up with your doctor, regardless of the results. In the long run, it's best to have a doctor you feel comfortable with, so you can seek help when you need it.
If you are concerned about the cost of testing or currently don't have a doctor available, search for local community health or family planning centers that may offer testing services. Some testing services may be available for free.
Chlamydia—CDC fact sheet. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website. Available at: http://www.cdc.gov/std/chlamydia/STDFact-chlamydia-detailed.htm. Updated January 7, 2014. Accessed July 31, 2014.
Chlamydia genital infection. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed. Updated June 30, 2014. Accessed July 31, 2014.
Cook RL, Hutchison SL, Ostergaard L, et al. Systematic review: noninvasive testing for chlamydia trachomatis and neisseria gonorrhoeae. Ann Intern Med. 2005;142:914-925.
Chlamydia testing. American Association for Clinical Chemistry Lab Tests Online website. Available at: http://labtestsonline.org/understanding/analytes/chlamydia/tab/glance. Updated June 25, 2014. Accessed July 30, 2014.
Mishori R, McClaskey, EL, et al. Chlamydia trachomatis infections: Screening, diagnosis, and management. Am Fam Physician. 2012;86(12):1127-1132.
van Dommelen L, van Tiel FH, et al. Alarmingly poor performance in Chlamydia trachomatis point-of-care testing. Sex Transm Infect. 2010;86(5):355-359.
Workowski KA, Berman S, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Sexually Transmitted Diseases Treatment Guidelines, 2010. MMWR. 2010;59(No. RR-12):1-110.
Last reviewed March 2015 by David L. Horn, MD, FACP
Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.
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