Chlamydia

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Chlamydia is one of the most common STDs and is the leading cause of preventable infertility in the United States. If left untreated, Chlamydia may also lead to pelvic inflammatory disease and the risk of ectopic pregnancy in women. Chlamydia is both treatable and preventable.

Symptom Overview

Chlamydia is a sexually transmitted disease caused by bacteria. It infects the genital area, lips, mouth, or anus of both men and women.
If symptoms do occur, they may not appear until several weeks after exposure. Even when it causes no symptoms, chlamydia can damage a woman’s reproductive organs.

WOMEN

– Many women have no symptoms at all
– Unusual discharge from the vagina
– Burning or pain during urination and bowel movements
– Need to urinate (pee) more often
– Bleeding from the vagina between periods, including light bleeding.

MEN

– Watery white discharge from penis
– Burning or pain during urination
– Need to urinate (pee) more often
– Swollen or tender testicles

Who

Lots of people have Chlamydia. As many as 1 in 10 young women will test positive for it. About three million cases of Chlamydia occur every year in the US, but only about half of those are reported. In the St. Louis metropolitan region alone, there were 15,556 reported cases of Chlamydia in 2011 . Females 15-19 year olds make up the largest number of new cases of Chlamydia and Gonorrhea.

Transmission

– Having anal, vaginal, or oral sex with someone.
– Chlamydia can still be transmitted even if a man does not ejaculate.
– Reinfection after treatment if sex partner wasn’t treated.

Testing

Chlamydia can be detected on a swab taken from the penis, vagina, rectum, or throat. It can also be detected in a urine sample.

Treatment

– Easily treated and cured with antibiotics
– If diagnosed, do not have sex for 7 days after taking antibiotics to prevent spreading it to partners, or, 7 days after your partner is treated.
– Re-infection is possible and can cause further complications
– Women and men with chlamydia should be retested 3 months after treatment of the initial infection

Living with It

Chlamydia is curable with antibiotic treatment. However, your sex partners also need to be treated, or else you can get re-infected if you have sex with them again.

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