When it comes to preventing STDs, there’s really only one answer: Practice safe sex. Always. But even those with the best intentions don’t always use condoms 100 percent correctly, 100 percent of the time (oral, anal, vaginal all included), which is why you should be diligent about getting regular STD tests.
With that said, one new study says there may soon be a vaccination to prevent at least one scary STD: chlamydia. The STD (in all its various strains) has made up the largest portion of STDs reported to the CDC for more than two decades. (Back in 2015, the CDC went as far as calling the uprise of the disease an epidemic!) What’s worse is that you may not even know you have it, as many people are asymptomatic. Without proper treatment, the STD can cause upper genital tract infections, pelvic inflammatory disease, and even infertility.
But researchers at McMaster University have developed the first widely protective vaccine against chlamydia using an antigen known as BD584. The antigen is thought to be the first preventive line of defense against the most common type of chlamydia. To test its powers, researchers gave the vaccine, which was administered through the nose, to people with an existing chlamydia infection.
They found that the vaccine significantly reduced “chlamydial shedding”, which is a common side effect of the condition, which involves the chlamydia virus spreading its cells, by 95 percent. Women with chlamydia may also experience a blockage in her Fallopian tubes caused by a build of fluids, but the trial vaccine was able to reduce this symptom by more than 87 percent. According to the study authors, these effects indicate that their vaccine could be a powerful weapon not just in treating chlamydia but in preventing the disease in the first place.
While more development is certainly needed to test the vaccine’s effectiveness on different types of chlamydia, the researchers say they believe the results are encouraging. (Protect yourself with knowledge and be aware of the Dangerous Sleeper STDs In Women.)