Chlamydia…the Koala killer

Now I remember in 5th grade hearing that HIV came from monkeys in some way or another. But despite knowing this, I never really thought about how STDs affected animals beyond humans.  But when I came across an article about Koala’s in Australia dieing from a chlamydia epidemic, I quickly learned that STDs are a serious issue for many animals, even more serious than in humans.

For these Koalas, not only does the Chlamydia have the potential to damage the sex organs and cause infertility in females as it does in humans, it also has the ability to cause blindness and attack their respiratory system.  With 50-90 percent of the population having the disease as well as having to fight an HIV-like disease, the seriousness of the epidemic becomes very real.

But this epidemic may be good. No I don’t hate animals; trust me I love them. But with the epidemic, it is forcing researchers to scramble for a vaccine to save the Koalas.  Progress has been made and that gives hopes that a cure can be found for humans. In addition this made me think what other STDs may be cured by the use of animal testing.

I’m not a fan of using animals to test products out, and feel that many things can be cruel to the animals, but when it comes to serious diseases such as HIV/AIDs and other STDs, I think animal testing may be necessary. With the number of different animals who have STDs similar to humans, the research that can be gained could be invaluable. Clearly there is research being done with animal testing, its being done with these Koalas, but I think more should be done. If a cure for HIV/AIDs can be found at the cost of a few animals lives, than so be it. The reward far outweighs the risk in this case, and just think, if a cure is found faster, we can save more animals in the long run.


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