What is Chlamydia?

Chlamydia is a sexually transmitted infection (STI) caused by the bacterium Chlamydia trachomatis. Chlamydia can infect the genital tracts, including the cervix, uterus, fallopian tubes, and epididymis in males. It can also infect the throat, anus and rectum.

How is Chlamydia transmitted?

Chlamydia can be transmitted through sexual contact. Vaginal sex and anal sex without condoms are the highest risks for transmission. Chlamydia can also be passed to the child during birth if the newborn comes into contact with infected vaginal discharge. There are higher rates of Chlamydia among injection drug users, prisoners, sex trade workers and street youth.

Symptoms

An unusual discharge with unusual odor from the genital tract, pain during vaginal intercourse, a painful burning sensation during urination and bleeding between menstrual periods. Untreated chlamydia infection of the cervix can spread to the uterus and fallopian tubes and cause pelvic inflammatory disease (PID).

 A Chlamydia infection of the eye results in a condition called conjunctivitis (also known as pink eye). The symptoms include itchy red eyes and a green, white or yellow discharge that crusts over the eye.

Testing and diagnosis (screening)

To screen for Chlamydia, samples are taken from the sites of suspected infection and tested for the presence of bacteria.

Treatment

Chlamydia can be cured with treatment using antibiotics.

Prevention

Correct and consistent use of condoms reduces the risk of transmitting Chlamydia.