Tips for Communicating about Sexual Health

#ISpeakSexHealth: Chlamydia 101

What is chlamydia?

~ a common, curable sexually transmitted infection (STI)

  • Chlamydia is the most common bacterial STI in the United States.
  • It's especially common among sexually active adolescents and young adults.
  • The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that there are almost 3 million cases of chlamydia each year.

How do you get chlamydia?

~ from an infected person to a partner through certain sexual activities

  • Chlamydia is usually passed during anal or vaginal sex.
  • It can also be passed through oral sex, but that is less likely.
  • Chlamydia can be passed even if the penis or tongue does not go all the way into the vagina or anus.
  • Transmission is possible if the vagina, cervix, anus, penis or mouth come in contact with infected secretions or fluids.

What are the symptoms of chlamydia?

  • Most people will have no symptoms at all.
  • If a person does have symptoms, they usually develop within 1-3 weeks after exposure.
  • Women may experience vaginal discharge, or a burning sensation during urination.
  • Men may experience pus discharge from the penis, pain during urination, or pain or swelling of the testicles.

Who should get tested for chlamydia?

Chlamydia is very common and often has no symptoms, so anybody who is sexually active should think about being tested.  

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommend sexually active women age 25 or younger get tested once per year.

  • It is also recommended for women with new or multiple sexual partners and pregnant women.
  • Both men and women should talk with a healthcare provider about whether they need testing for chlamydia as well as other STIs.
  • Chlamydia can easily be treated with antibiotics.

 Is chlamydia dangerous?

~ if not detected and left untreated, it can cause serious problems, especially in women.

  • Chlamydia is the leading preventable cause of infertility
  • It can also cause infections in newborn babies of infected mothers.

Learn more about chlamydia testing, treatment and prevention at http://chlamydiacoalition.org.