Chlamydia Overview

What is Chlamydia?

Chlamydia is one of the most curable STDs (sexually transmitted disease) and is quite common. The cause of chlamydia is a type of bacteria called the chlamydia trachomatis bacteria. It can be passed to other people during sexual intercourse (vaginal, oral or anal). Each year in the United States, there are an estimated 2.8 million new infections of Chlamydia. Most of these cases go undiagnosed.

What are Chlamydia’s symptoms?

Usually, you will not see any signs. It is possible that you can have it and not know it. If Chlamydia does show signs or symptoms, they will appear shortly after sexual contact (usually a few weeks later). Painful urination, stomach pain, bleeding in between periods and odd vaginal discharge are the usual Chlamydia symptoms in women. In men, the symptoms can be unusual penis discharge, burning or itching near the penis or painful urination.

How is Chlamydia contracted?

It is contracted through anal, vaginal and oral sex (oral sex only sometimes). Even if the tongue or the penis does not completely enter the anus or vagina, Chlamydia can be transferred to another person. If you want to prevent Chlamydia, the best way is not to have sex at all. That is the only way to be 100% safe from contracting a sexually transmitted disease. However, if you do choose to be sexually active, use a condom every time for all anal, vaginal and oral sex. That will be your best bet for staying healthy.

How can I get tested for Chlamydia?

There is a urine test called the Chlamydia Nucleic Acid Amplification Test (NAA). This is offered in both of the Test Panels. The CDC highly recommends this test for its ability to be very accurate. There is no swabbing involved.

What else should I know about the Chlamydia test?

The urine test is the most accurate test for detecting Chlamydia trachomatis bacteria. It is the current standard. because it is based on the amplification of the bacteria’s DNA. This test is also highly unlikely to produce false-positive results. When your results are ready, you will be put in contact with a professional physician if you are positive. There will be no extra cost. This doctor can advise you of your next steps depending on your situation. If necessary, treatment can be prescribed.

Does Chlamydia have a cure?

Yes, Chlamydia is completely curable, and treatment is simple. A doctor can give you antibiotics if you are positive, and these will kill the Chlamydia bacteria. Before you can have sex again, remember you and your partner must both have Chlamydia treatment. This is the most sure-fire way not to get infected again. As with every medication, you must follow your doctor’s instructions exactly and read labels carefully for the medication to work correctly.

What happens if I do not get treated for Chlamydia?

There are serious consequences for people who go untreated for Chlamydia. Infections left untreated in women can lead to serious pelvic pain, infertility, PID (pelvic inflammatory disease) and possibly dangerous tubal pregnancies. There are also prenatal issues that can happen for unborn babies (including pneumonia). Women who have Chlamydia are at a much higher risk for HIV. For men, the untreated Chlamydia infection can spread throughout the penis, testicles and prostate, and there can be painful inflammation and pain. Men can even become sterile.