It’s always a good idea to get tested if you learn that a current or previous partner has been diagnosed with a sexually transmitted infection (STI). Testing is particularly important for chlamydia because it is a common STI, especially in younger people, and most women don’t experience symptoms, so there really is no way of knowing if you have it. For this reason ASHA, the CDC, and most experts recommend that women 26 years and younger have annual chlamydia screenings – or more frequently if they are at high risk for an STI (such as having unprotected sex, multiple partners, or even a new partner).
Testing for chlamydia is easy; most often the specimen is a urine sample or swab. Chlamydia is easily treated, but if it goes undiagnosed over time it can cause fertility problems – something you might not be thinking about right now but will want to protect for the future. Your partner’s clinic was right to advise that you get tested, and you can be thankful that your partner told you he had been infected. You should also notify any other partners you have been with recently.
Please don’t let the costs of medical care stand in the way of taking care of yourself and your future. Your local health department probably has an STI clinic, or you may want to contact community resource centers to learn about free clinics or subsidized health services that can offer lower rates for these tests (you can search here). Also, prevention of chlamydia and other STIs continues to be important for you and your partner.
–James Allen, MD, MPH