Do I Need an STD Test to Be Treated for Chlamydia?

Written by Dr. Ryner Lai
March 28, 2021

There is a stigma around sexually transmitted infections (STIs), even though they are much more common than you might think. The CDC estimates that annually, around 1 in 5 people in the United States have an STI. That makes STIs one of the most common issues that people see their doctor for. 


Because of the social stigma surrounding STIs, many people have misconceptions about how they are diagnosed and treated. Chlamydia is the most commonly reported STI in the United States. However, many patients know very little about this common condition when seeing their doctor for it. 


Quick Facts About Chlamydia 

Let’s first talk about the common symptoms of chlamydia. Men tend to experience pain when urinating and a discharge from their penis. Women tend to also experience pain when urinating and an abnormal discharge from their vagina. However, please note that you can have chlamydia without displaying any of these symptoms. Chlamydia can get passed to you if you have unprotected intercourse with an infected partner. 


If your doctor suspects that you have chlamydia, your doctor can order a urine test or a swab test around the affected genital area to confirm the diagnosis. Chlamydia is a bacterial infection that can be typically cured by antibiotics. Most of the time, your symptoms will clear up within a week. If left untreated, or if treatment is delayed, chlamydia might make it more difficult for women to get pregnant. 


Is an STI Test Really Necessary to Get Treated for Chlamydia?

In many cases, the simple answer is no, as lots of cases fall under the following two categories: 

  1. Known exposure: In many cases (even without having symptoms) a patient has been told that they were exposed to a sexual partner who has been diagnosed with chlamydia. This usually means that the exposed sexual partner needs to be treated regardless of the test result.
  2. Typical chlamydia symptoms: Because the symptoms of chlamydia are often typical, your doctor will usually be able to diagnose an STI based on empirical evidence alone. This means that a diagnosis can be made based on your symptoms, your sexual history, and possibly an examination of your genital area.


A lab test may be helpful to confirm the diagnosis if there is no clear exposure or if the symptoms are atypical. But in many cases, an STI test is unnecessary and simply delays the onset of treatment. 


Because chlamydia can be diagnosed and treated without the need for an in-person visit, it is possible to seek help by consulting with a doctor via telemedicine–without having to go to a clinic or an STI testing site. Remember, chlamydia is a treatable STI, and you should seek treatment as soon as symptoms occur to avoid complications and spreading the disease to others.


How to Get Treated for Chlamydia 

If you or your partner experience any STI symptoms or were exposed to chlamydia, QuickMD is here to help. Click here to speak to a doctor now and get a prescription for an antibiotic that treats chlamydia.

If you would like to get tested, you can order your own STI test here and have the testing done at a LabCorp location near you. 


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