Patients shouldn’t wait for Chlamydia vaccine and should seek help now, warns Harrow Health Care Centre
GPs at Harrow Health Care Centre in London have said that while the development of a new vaccine for Chlamydia looks promising patients shouldn’t wait for the protection it could offer.
It was announced in The Lancet Infectious Diseases journal that Imperial College London is developing a vaccine to protect people against Chlamydia that has passed initial safety tests.
The vaccine is still in its infancy and more trials and protocols will be required before it can be offered to patients, with the researchers suggesting that it may be at least five years away. Harrow Health Care Centre
Dr Judith A. Gomes, a GP at Harrow Health Care Centre, said: “The introduction of a vaccine to protect people against Chlamydia has the potential to be ground-breaking.
“However, based on typical trials this may be some way off yet, so those people who feel that they may have the condition or are at higher risk must seek screening and help rather than wait for a vaccine to be developed.”
Chlamydia is a bacterial infection that is most commonly transmitted during unprotected sexual contact.
The bacteria are found in semen and vaginal fluid and can often be symptomless, which can make detecting the source of an infection difficult.
If left untreated, Dr Gomes, said that Chlamydia can lead to various complications, including pelvic inflammatory disease (PID). This condition can cause infertility, chronic pelvic pain and tubal pregnancies in women.
She said that men can also experience urethral infection and complications such as swollen and tender testicles.
“Unlike some other conditions, past infection with Chlamydia does not lead to an immune response that can protect you again in future, such as with Chickenpox,” Dr Gomes explained.
“Instead each new case of Chlamydia will need to be treated with antibiotics. It is therefore essential that people seek help with the condition if they believe they have been infected.”
Common symptoms of Chlamydia include itching and/or burning during urination and discharge, but Dr Gomes said that approximately 75 per cent of women and 50 per cent of men have no symptoms so this should not be relied on.
“This study will hopefully help to raise awareness of this common STD, but people who are sexually active and having unprotected sex should get checked regularly to ensure they aren’t carrying this infection, which can have a devastating impact on a women’s fertility,” added Dr Gomes.
Harrow Health Care Centre offers screening and treatment for Chlamydia and other STDs