Chlamydia: Fast Facts About STDs

Fast Facts About STDs: Chlamydia

Name of Disease or Infection
Chlamydia, also known as Nongonococcal Urethritis, NGU or Mucopurulent Cervicitis.


Type of Disease or Infection

Bacterial infection caused by the bacteria Chlamydia trachomatis.

How Common Is It?
Chlamydia is the most frequently reported bacterial sexually transmitted disease in the U.S. The CDC estimates that 2.8 million Americans are infected with chlamydia each year.

How Do I Get It?
Chlamydia is transmitted through vaginal, oral and anal sexual contact. It can also be passed from an infected mother to her baby during vaginal childbirth.

Symptoms
About 80% of women have no symptoms until serious complications occur. When early symptoms do arise, they are likely to include abnormal vaginal discharge and burning sensation when urinating. Up to 50% of men show no symptoms of infection. Among those that do, the most common include unusual discharge from the penis, burning sensation when urinating, and itching and burning around the urethral opening. Rarely, pain and swelling of the testicles will occur. Early symptoms, if they occur, will usually appear one to three weeks after exposure.

What Should I Do If I Think I Have It?
See your clinician or physician immediately for a culture of the discharge or urine test.

How Do I Get Rid of It?
Your physician will prescribe a dose of antibiotics, usually doxycycline or azithromycin.

What Happens If I Don't Treat It?
Untreated chlamydia in females can cause Pelvic Inflammatory Disease (PID) and fallopian tube scarring, which can lead to infertility and ectopic pregnancies. Infants of infected mothers can develop dangerous eye infections during birth if left untreated. Untreated males may develop fertility problems or infections of the epididymis.

Who Should I Tell?
If you have chlamydia, you should tell any current or very recent partners (i.e., people you had sexual contact with over the last month). Once the disease has been successfully treated, you do not need to tell future partners.

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