Chlamydia is one of the most common sexually transmitted infections (STIs). It is caused by Chlamydia trachomatis bacteria.
It is an infection of the reproductive and/or urinary tracts (and sometimes of the throat or rectum). It is possible to have other infections, such as gonorrhea, along with it. Chlamydia is easily treated with antibiotics.
HOW CAN I GET CHLAMYDIA?
- Oral Sex
- Anal Sex without a condom
- Sharing sex toys
- Found in cum and anal fluids
HOW DOES IT LOOK LIKE?
In most cases symptoms never appear and therefore you can pass on the infection without knowing it. Symptoms can develop between two to 10 days after possible exposure and may include the following:
- Vaginal/cervical infection: Eighty per cent of vaginal/cervical infections are asymptomatic. Individuals with symptoms may notice unusual vaginal discharge, unusual odour, itching, painful penetration, bleeding with sexual intercourse, lower abdominal pain, heavier menstrual periods, and/or pain/burning during urination.
- Urethral/penile infection: Fifty per cent of urethral/penile infections are asymptomatic. Individuals with symptoms may notice a discharge from their penis, burning or itching around the opening of the penis, pain/burning during urination, and/or swelling of the testicles.
- Throat infection: Throat infections often have no symptoms at all however some may experience a sore throat.
- Anal/rectal infection: Anal infections often have no symptoms at all. Some infected individuals may notice anal itching, painful bowel movements, an urgency to have a bowel movement, and/or anal discharge.
HOW IS IT TESTED?
- Vaginal/cervical: A swab is inserted into the vagina and a sample of secretions is taken from the cervix.
- Urethral/penis: Diagnosis is usually made through a urine sample although, if discharge is present, a swab may also be taken. You should not urinate for one hour before the test.
- Throat and rectum: Swabs are taken from the throat and/or rectum.
IS IT TREATABLE?
Chlamydia is easily treated with antibiotics. It is important that you take all the pills as directed even if the symptoms have disappeared. Pelvic inflammatory disease may need hospitalization and treatment with intravenous antibiotics.
WHAT ABOUT MY SEXUAL PARTNER(S)?
All sexual partners within the past two months should be tested and, even if their test results are negative, they should be treated. If you have not had sex in the past two months, your most recent partner(s) should be tested and treated. Inform your partner(s) that not having symptoms does not mean that they do not have chlamydia.
HOW DO I PREVENT MYSELF FROM GETTING IT (or passing it on if I have it)?
Using a condom every time you have oral, vaginal and anal sex will greatly reduce your chances of getting chlamydia and other sexually transmitted infections.