What is it?
A bacterial infection of the genitals, anus, or throat.
How common is it?
Chlamydia is the most commonly reported STD in the U.S. Over 1 million cases are reported each year. The highest proportion of cases is among women aged 15 to 24.
What are the symptoms?
Often there are no symptoms. For women who do experience symptoms, they may have vaginal discharge that is discolored or yellow-green, bleeding (not their period), and/or burning and pain during urination. For men who do experience symptoms, they may have discharge or pain during urination, and/or burning or itching around the opening of the penis.
How do you get it?
Through vaginal, oral, or anal sex. It can also be passed on from mother to child during childbirth.
How do you treat it?
Oral antibiotics cure the infection. Both partners must be treated at the same time to prevent passing the infection back and forth. Both partners should abstain from sex until the infection is gone. Persons with chlamydia should be tested for other STDs.
What are the consequences if left untreated?
Increased risk for infection of other STDs, including HIV. In women, chlamydia can cause pelvic inflammatory disease (PID) which can lead to infertility and tubal (ectopic) pregnancy. Men may develop pain and swelling in the testicles, although this is rare. Babies born to infected women can develop eye or lung infections.
Get Yourself Tested
Anyone who has had sex may be at risk for an STD, even when there are no symptoms. Because chlamydia is so common and can cause infertility, annual screening is recommended for sexually active young women. Talk to your health care provider about testing
Can it be prevented?
There is no vaccine for chlamydia. Abstaining from sex and sexual contact is the surest way to avoid getting an STD. Using condoms every time reduces the risk of contracting STDs. If you or your partner tests positive, you should abstain from sex until the infection is gone.
If you are sexually active, using condoms consistently and correctly, from start to finish, is one of the best ways to help prevent STDs. Condoms are the ONLY method that protects sexually active people from both STDs and pregnancy.