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Get STI testing today Chlamydia​What is Chlamydia?

Chlamydia is a bacterial STI that can cause infection in the genitals, rectum, and throat. Anyone who is sexually active can get chlamydia. It is especially common among young people 15 – 24 years of age. Infection can lead to serious reproductive health problems, such as pelvic inflammatory disease (PID) and infertility. Tests and effective treatments are available. Having a chlamydia infection may increase one's risk of becoming infected with HIV.

If you are sexually active, have an honest and open conversation with your health care provider. Ask them if you should get tested for chlamydia or other STIs. If you are a sexually active gay or bisexual cisgender man, you should get tested for chlamydia at least once per year. Many pregnant people should be tested during pregnancy. If you are a sexually active cisgender woman, you should get tested for gonorrhea every year if you are:

  • Younger than 25 years of age

  • Older than 25 years of age with risk factors, such as new or multiple sex partners, or a sex partner who has an STI

How It Spreads

You can get chlamydia by having vaginal, anal, or oral sex with someone who has chlamydia. You can still get chlamydia even if your sex partner does not ejaculate (cum). A pregnant person with chlamydia can give the infection to their baby during childbirth.

Signs and Symptoms

Chlamydia often has no symptoms, but it can cause serious health problems, even without symptoms. If symptoms do occur, they may not appear until several weeks after having sex with a partner who has chlamydia.

Among people with a vagina, chlamydia infection can damage the reproductive system even if there are no symptoms. ​​People with symptoms may notice:

  • Painful or burning sensation when peeing

  • Increased or abnormal vaginal discharge

  • Vaginal bleeding between periods or after sex

Symptoms among people with a penis can include:

  • A discharge from their penis

  • A burning sensation when peeing

  • Pain and swelling in one or both testicles (although this is less common)

People can also get chlamydia in their rectum. This happens either by having receptive anal sex, or by spreading from another infected site (such as the vagina). While these infections often cause no symptoms, they can cause:

  • Rectal pain

  • Discharge

  • Bleeding

See a health care provider if you notice any of these symptoms. You should also see a provider if your partner has an STI or symptoms of one. Symptoms can include:

  • An unusual sore

  • A smelly discharge

  • Burning when peeing

  • Bleeding between periods

Infants exposed to chlamydia in the vagina at the time of delivery may develop:

  • Eye infection with discharge that typically occurs on day 10-11 of life

  • Pneumonia​

Testing

Laboratory tests can diagnose chlamydia. Your health care provider may ask you to provide a urine sample for testing, or they might use (or ask you to use) a cotton swab to get a vaginal, rectal, or throat sample.

To test an infant's eye for chlamydia the health care provider may use a cotton swab to get a sample of discharge from the baby's eye.

Prevention

If you are sexually active, you can do the following things to lower your chances of getting chlamydia:

  • Have sex only with a partner(s) who has been tested and does not have chlamydia

  • Use condoms

  • Use doxyPEP - talk to a health care provider to see if doxyPEP is right for you

If you think you've been exposed to chlamydia or you've had a partner who has tested positive for chlamydia, tell your health care provider. You may need treatment to prevent developing chlamydia yourself. Also, ask your health care provider about doxy-PEP. Doxy-PEP is a medication you take within 72 hours of having sex to reduce your risk of infection from syphilis, chlamydia, and gonorrhea.​

Chlamydia is curable!

Antibiotics can cure chlamydia. It is important that you take all of the medication your health care provider gives you to cure your infection. When taken properly it will stop the infection and could decrease your chances of having reproductive problems later. Although medicine will stop the infection, it will not undo any permanent damage caused by the disease. Having chlamydia once does not protect you from getting it again. Regular testing is the best way to identify infection early so you can get treatment and prevent complications. Talk to your health care provider to determine how often you should get tested. Tell your healthcare provider if you think you are pregnant so you can be tested again if you are pregnant.



The initial damage that chlamydia causes often goes unnoticed. However, chlamydia can lead to serious health problems.

In people with a vagina, untreated chlamydia can cause pelvic inflammatory disease (PID). Some of the complications of PID are:

  • Formation of scar tissue that block fallopian tubes

  • Ectopic pregnancy (pregnancy outside the womb)

  • Infertility (not being able to get pregnant)

  • Long-term pelvic/abdominal pain

  • People with a penis may occasionally have ongoing health problems from chlamydia. The infection can cause a fever and pain in the tubes attached to the testicles. This can, in rare cases, lead to infertility. Untreated chlamydia may also increase your chances of getting or giving HIV.

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