Tell Me More About Chlamydia

What Is Chlamydia?

Chlamydia is a bacterial infection that’s easily cured with antibiotic medicine. It’s one of the most common STDs, and most people who have Chlamydia don’t show any symptoms.

How Common Is It?

Extremely. Close to 3 million Americans get it every year, most commonly among 14-24-year-olds.

How Is It Transmitted?

Chlamydia is usually spread during sexual contact (vaginal, anal, and oral sex) with someone who has the infection. The main ways people get Chlamydia are from having vaginal sex and anal sex, but it can also be spread through oral sex. The infection is carried in semen (cum), pre-cum, and vaginal fluids. Chlamydia can infect the penis, vagina, cervix, anus, urethra, eyes, and throat.

Chlamydia can also be spread to a baby during birth if the mother has it.

Chlamydia isn’t spread through casual contact, so you CAN’T get chlamydia from sharing food or drinks, kissing, hugging, holding hands, coughing, sneezing, or sitting on the toilet.

What About Symptoms?

Signs and symptoms can often be overlooked and many people with Chlamydia don’t have any symptoms at all. If you do get symptoms, you may not notice them until several weeks after infection. In others it can take a number of months or until the infection spreads to other parts of the body. 

Symptoms for women include:
  • an increase in vaginal discharge caused by an inflamed womb (cervix)
  • pain or burning when urinating (peeing)
  • pain during sex and/or bleeding after sex
  • pain in the lower abdomen – especially when having sex
  • bleeding between periods and/or heavier periods
  • pain, discharge or bleeding in the anus.
Symptoms for men include:
  • a white, cloudy or watery discharge from the penis
  • pain or burning when urinating (peeing)
  • pain and/or swelling in the testicles
  • pain, discharge or bleeding in the anus (bottom).
Symptoms for women and men include:
  • inflammation (redness) of the eye (called conjunctivitis) caused by infected semen or vaginal fluid getting into your eyes.
How Do I Get Tested?

A healthcare professional will ask for a urine (pee) sample.

For women, a swab may be taken from the lower part of the womb (cervix) or the vagina. For men, a swab may taken from the tip of the penis (urethra). If you’ve had anal or oral sex, you may have a swab taken from the rectum or throat.

What If I Have Chlamydia?

Chlamydia is usually easily treated with a short course of antibiotics.

Whether you have symptoms or not, don’t have sex until you and your current sexual partner/s have finished treatment. Ask your healthcare professional when it’s safe to have sex again.

If you’ve had Chlamydia and been treated you’re not immune – this means you can get infected again.