Getting an STI test is often something we don't think of until it's too late, but these new figures should definitely motivate you to pick up the phone and make that appointment.
Positive cases of chlamydia increased by 32% last year, according to new figures from the Dublin Well Woman Centre Annual Report. The centre detected 253 cases of the STI last year, up almost a third on 2013.
Last year's figure is the second highest in 13 years, an alarming statistic considering the amount of sexual health education easily available these days.
As well as chlamydia testing, the Well Woman Clinic offers a full screen for STIs and includes bloods, swabs and any necessary referrals, prescriptions or follow-up.
The figures also noted an increase in women choosing long-action reversible contraception choices, like the Implanon implant, a small flexible plastic rod which is placed under the skin, giving contraceptive protection for 3 years.
While they do not prevent against STIs, many women choose LARCs as a more reliable method of protection from unplanned pregnancy. "LARCs are highly effective, have minimal side effects and are a ‘fit and forget’ solution to contraception," says Dr Shirley McQuade, Medical Director of the Well Woman Centre.
However for guaranteed protection from STIs, especially during sex with a new partner, condoms are still always recommended.
Chlamydia Fact Sheet
What is chlamydia?
Chlamydia is a sexually transmitted infection which can be contracted by having vaginal, oral or anal sex with someone who is also infected.
How do I know if I have it?
Unlike other STIs, chlamydia often has no symptoms, though some women do present with abnormal vaginal discharge or a burning sensation when peeing. Condoms offer the greatest protection against chlamydia and STIs in general, so it is extremely important to get tested if you have had unprotected sex with a new partner recently or suspect you may be at risk.
What happens if I have chlamydia?
Luckily, chlamydia can be easily detected during an STI test and can be treated with a short course of antibiotics. If left untreated the STI can result in serious, permanent damage to a woman's reproductive system.