What Is Chlamydia?
Chlamydia is a curable sexually transmitted disease (STD) caused by a certain type of bacteria. If left untreated, this infection can progress to serious reproductive and other health problems, with both short-term and long-term consequences. Sexually active women and men can get the disease through vaginal, anal, or oral sex with an infected person.
Chlamydia: An Introduction
Chlamydia is a common sexually transmitted disease (STD) caused by the bacterium, Chlamydia trachomatis, which can damage a woman's reproductive organs.
An estimated 2.8 million Americans get chlamydia each year. Women are often reinfected, meaning that they get the STD again if their sex partners are not treated. Reinfections place women at higher risk for serious reproductive health complications, including infertility.
How Is the Disease Transmitted?
Sexually active women and men can get chlamydia through sexual contact with an infected person. The bacteria can be passed during vaginal, anal, or oral sex.
Because there are often no symptoms, people who are infected may unknowingly pass chlamydia to their sex partners. An infected mother can also pass the disease to her baby during childbirth. Babies born to infected mothers can get pneumonia or infections in their eyes, also called conjunctivitis.
The more sex partners a person has, the greater the risk of getting infected with chlamydia. This disease is easily confused with gonorrhea, another STD. Gonorrhea and chlamydia have similar symptoms and can have similar complications if not treated, but the two STDs have different treatments.
What Are the Symptoms?
Chlamydia signs and symptoms typically occur within 1 to 3 weeks of infection. Chlamydia is often known as a "silent" disease, because the majority of people infected with it show no symptoms. If chlamydia symptoms do occur, it may include discharge from the penis or vagina and pain during urination.