What is Chlamydia?
Chlamydia is a sexually transmitted disease (STD) caused by bacteria. It is the second most common STD in the U.S. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimate there are 2.86 million chlamydia infections in the U.S. each year. In Denver, chlamydia remains the most common infection, affecting an estimated 7,317 Denver residents in 2018, and more than one in 100 in Denver. Due to decreasing condom use and other factors, chlamydia diagnoses increased by 24 percent in 2018 from years earlier. Chlamydia is often called a “silent” infection because 70-95 percent of women and 90 percent of men who have chlamydia do not have any symptoms.
Most people who have chlamydia do not have any symptoms. For people with symptoms, the most common symptoms of chlamydia are:
- A burning feeling when urinating
- A white or yellow discharge coming from the penis
- Painful or swollen testicles
- Abnormal or increased vaginal discharge
- Vaginal bleeding between periods
- Sore throat
How is chlamydia spread?
- Chlamydia is spread by having unprotected vaginal, oral or anal sex with someone who has it (even if they don’t have symptoms).
- Pregnant women can also give chlamydia to their babies during vaginal deliveries.
Who gets chlamydia?
- Anyone who has (or has ever had) unprotected vaginal, oral or anal sex can get chlamydia.
- Unborn babies whose mother has chlamydia are at risk for chlamydia infection.
What should I do if I think I have chlamydia?
- Stop having sex (even with a condom).
- Visit your doctor or local public health department to get tested.
- Chlamydia is treated with antibiotics. But it’s important to know that a person can get chlamydia again.
- All recent sexual partners (within 60 days) of the person with chlamydia should be tested and treated if necessary. Testing helps prevent the spread of chlamydia to other people.
What are the long-term health problems of untreated chlamydia?
- Not treating chlamydia can cause serious, permanent health problems in women, including:
- Pelvic inflammatory disease (PID). This can lead to chronic pelvic pain and infertility.
- Long-term health problems from PID or infertility caused by chlamydia are not curable.
How can I lower my chances of getting chlamydia?
- Correctly use latex condoms every time you have sex.
- Don’t have sex until you and your sexual partner have been tested and do not have chlamydia.
- If your sex partner is being treated for chlamydia, please learn how this affects you.
Everyone who has sex should be tested for STDs. Talk to your provider about how often and what test you should get, or call us at 303-602-3560 to schedule an appointment with the Sexual Health Clinic.
Sources: American Sexual Health Association, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention