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Chlamydia is a common sexually transmitted disease. In fact, it is the most frequently reported bacterial STD in the United States, affecting approximately 2.8 million Americans per year. This curable infection is spread through sexual contact between infected individuals. The more sex partners a person has, the greater the risk of becoming infected. Treatment for chlamydia generally involves a course of antibiotics.

What Is Chlamydia?

Chlamydia is a curable sexually transmitted disease (STD) that is caused by bacteria called Chlamydia trachomatis.
An estimated 2.8 million Americans get chlamydia each year. Women are often reinfected, meaning 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 It Transmitted?

Sexually active women and men can get the disease through sexual contact with an infected person. Chlamydia can be passed during vaginal, anal, or oral sex.
Because there are often no symptoms, people who are infected may unknowingly pass the disease to their sex partners.
An infected mother can also pass chlamydia 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. Chlamydia 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.

Symptoms of Chlamydia

Symptoms may affect both men and women. However, chlamydia is often known as a "silent" disease, because most people who are infected show no symptoms. Common chlamydia symptoms in women, if they do occur, may include abnormal vaginal discharge or a burning sensation when urinating. Men with chlamydia signs and symptoms might have discharge from their penis or a burning sensation when urinating.
Written by/reviewed by:
Last reviewed by: Arthur Schoenstadt, MD
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