What is Chlamydia?
Chlamydia is a sexually-transmitted infection caused by a bacteria called
Chlamydia trachomatis. With more than 1.7 million new cases of chlamydia reported to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in 2017, chlamydia is the most commonly-reported sexually-transmitted disease.
How Do You Get Chlamydia?
You get chlamydia by coming into contact with the penis, vagina, anus or mouth of a person who has the infection. Intercourse or ejaculation are not required to transmit the bacteria.
It’s not uncommon for you to become infected with both chlamydia and gonorrhea at the same time because the bacteria often travel together.
How Do I Know I Have Chlamydia?
A majority of people who have chlamydia are asymptomatic, meaning they don’t experience any symptoms from the disease, and therefore don’t know they have it. Women are more likely to be asymptomatic than men.
Men who experience symptoms from chlamydia might have painful urination, a milky discharge from the penis or swollen or tender testicles. Women might also have a burning sensation when urinating, pain during sex or abnormal vaginal discharge. Symptoms usually start between one and three weeks after becoming infected.
Can You Treat or Cure Chlamydia?
Yes, chlamydia is both treatable and curable when caught early. A single round of oral antibiotics is usually sufficient to get rid of the bacteria. However, the next time you come into contact with someone who has chlamydia, you can get it again.
However, about 70 percent of men and 90 percent of women don’t experience any symptoms at all, don’t know they have the disease and unknowingly transmit it to their sexual partners.
Is Chlamydia Dangerous?
Chlamydia is usually not dangerous for men, but can be dangerous to women. Men don’t usually experience any complications beyond the typical symptoms of chlamydia, although it can lead to epiditimitis and is known to have caused sterility in rare cases.
When not treated, chlamydia can permanently damage a woman’s reproductive system and make her sterile. Chlamydia also causes pelvic inflammatory disease.
Researchers also believe that someone with chlamydia is at a greater risk of contracting HIV from an HIV-infected person than someone who doesn’t have the disease.
Can You Prevent Chlamydia?
The best way to prevent getting chlamydia is to either abstain from having sex, or to have sex in a mutually monogamous relationship, where both of you have been tested for STDs. For sexually-active adults, the best protection is to properly use a condom during sex.
How Do You Test for Chlamydia?
A urine or blood test can tell you whether you are infected with chlamydia. You should also have a gonorrhea test run on the same blood sample because it’s common to be infected with both at the same time.
Can I Get an Anonymous Chlamydia Test?
Doctors are required by law to notify the state health department when you test positive for chlamydia. This includes your name and other personal information. The health department will contact you and ask you questions about who your recent sex partners have been so they can be advised to get a test for chlamydia.
The only way to get an anonymous test for chlamydia, get anonymous treatment for chlamydia is to follow the steps in our Guide to Anonymous STD Testing.
How Do I Find Out More About Chlamydia?
The CDC has a wealth of information about chlamydia and other sexually-transmitted infections. To learn even more about chlamydia, watch the video below and read the CDC Fact Sheet on Chlamydia.