Chlamydia is a bacterial infection that can infect the penis, vagina, cervix, anus, urethra, eyes or throat. Symptoms of chlamydia are often mild or non-existent, and while chlamydia can be treated, it often goes undiagnosed and therefore untreated. Untreated Chlamydial infections can result in serious complications including infertility, and in women, chlamydia infection can lead to pelvic inflammatory disease (PID).
Very Common STD:
Chlamydia is thought to be the most common sexually transmitted bacterial infection in the U.S. with approximately 3 million people becoming infected each year.
How It's Transmitted:
Chlamydia is spread through unprotected vaginal or anal penetration, and it may also be spread through unprotected oral sex. The best prevention against chlamydia is to use condoms during genital and oral/genital contact. If you do have unprotected sex, or are having sex with multiple partners, you can ask your doctor to screen you for chlamydia.
Symptoms of Chlamydia:
Most people who have chlamydia show no symptoms (50% of men and 75% of women have no symptoms). When symptoms do occur, they can include:
- Discharge from the penis or vagina (the discharge may have an unpleasant odor)
- Burning with urination
- Spotting after penetration
- Painful penetration
- Swelling or pain in the testicles
How It's Prevented:
Because chlamydia is spread through unprotected sexual contact, the best prevention against chlamydia is to use condoms during genital and oral/genital contact. If you’re having unprotected sex you can ask your doctor to screen you for chlamydia since you may have chlamydia and have no symptoms, and early diagnosis and treatment are important.
Diagnosis and Treatment:
There are two kinds of tests for chlamydia, one of which involves swabbing genital tissue, and the other involves urine test that does not require a swab.
Chlamydia is easy to treat with antibiotics. Your doctor may give you a single dose, or you may have to take antibiotics for several days. Your doctor may provide you with treatment for your partner as well, and may ask you to come back for a follow up.