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What is Chlamydia?
Chlamydia is a common sexually transmitted disease, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Chlamydia is often called an “STD” for “sexually transmitted disease,” or “STI” for “sexually transmitted infection.” Medicare may cover chlamydia testing and prescription drugs to help treat a chlamydia infection.
According to the U.S. National Library of Medicine (NIH), chlamydia is caused by a bacterial infection that in women can occur in the cervix, rectum, or throat. In men, chlamydia can appear in the urethra, rectum, or throat. Chlamydia doesn’t usually cause symptoms, according to NIH, and you could pass on the disease to others without realizing you have it.
In 2015, there were more than 1.5 million reported cases of chlamydia in the United States, according the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). While the largest infected population in 2015 was women age 20-24, the CDC found reports of infections in both men and women as young as age 10 and up to age 65 and over.
What are the Symptoms of Chlamydia?
Chlamydia symptoms can appear several weeks after initial infection, according to the National Institute of Health (NIH). Symptoms in women could include abnormal vaginal discharge, a burning sensation when urinating, and pain during intercourse. A more severe infection could result in low abdominal pain, nausea or fever. Symptoms in men could include discharge from the penis, a burning sensation when urinating, burning or itching around the opening of the penis, and pain and swelling in the testicles. A chlamydia infection of the rectum in both men and women could cause rectal pain, discharge, and/or bleeding.
In women, chlamydia can result in in pelvic inflammatory disease, according to the CDC. Pelvic inflammatory disease can result in chronic pelvic pain, infertility, or a potentially deadly ectopic pregnancy (a pregnancy outsider the uterus).
How Do You Prevent Chlamydia?
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the only way to avoid an STD like Chlamydia is to not have vaginal, anal, or oral sex. If you do have sex, you can generally reduce your risk of contracting an STD like chlamydia by correctly using a latex or polyurethane condom. According to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) a condom can act as a barrier to keep blood, semen, or vaginal fluids from passing from one person to another during sexual intercourse. Another way to reduce your chances of getting chlamydia, according to the CDC, is to be in a long-term monogamous relationship where you only have sex with each other and you both have negative STD test results.
Does Medicare cover Chlamydia treatment?
According to the CDC, chlamydia can be easily cured. First it must be diagnosed with a laboratory test, which may involve providing a urine sample or a vaginal swab. Medicare Part B covers sexually transmitted infection (STI) screenings for chlamydia once every 12 months or at certain times during a pregnancy. People with Part B who are pregnant may be eligible, as well as certain people who are at increased risk for an STI when the tests are ordered by a primary care practitioner. (Medicare may also cover individual face-to-face behavioral counseling sessions for sexually active adolescents and adults at an increased risk for STIs. Your primary care physician or practitioner must refer you for this counseling.)
Since chlamydia is a bacterial infection, antibiotics will usually cure the infection, according to the National Institute of Health (NIH). Your doctor may prescribe you a one-time dose of antibiotics or you may have to take a 7-day regime. Keep in mind that the antibiotics cannot repair any permanent damage the disease has caused.
Original Medicare (Part A and Part B) generally doesn’t cover prescription drugs you take at home, such as antibiotics to cure chlamydia. To get coverage for prescription drugs to treat chlamydia you generally must in enroll in Medicare Part D prescription drug coverage, either through a Medicare Advantage Prescription Drug Plan or a stand-alone Medicare Part D Prescription Drug Plan. Medicare Advantage is another way to get your Part A and Part B benefits and these plans may include extra benefits as well, such as prescription drug coverage. With a Medicare Advantage plan you must continue to pay your Part B premium and your hospice benefits will still be covered by Original Medicare Part A. You can enroll in a Part D Prescription Drug Plan alongside your Original Medicare. Each Prescription Drug Plan has a formulary, or a list of prescription drugs it covers. This formulary may change from time to time, but the plan must inform you when it does.
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