What is chlamydia?
Chlamydia is the most common sexually transmitted disease in the
United States. It can cause infection of the cervix or urinary tract.
It can also lead to pelvic
inflammatory disease. Fortunately, chlamydia can be cured with
How do you get chlamydia?
Chlamydia is caused by a tiny parasite that lives inside cells.
You can get it only from intimate sexual contact, which is any
touching of your genitals to another person's mouth, genitals, or
anus. Even if you don't have intercourse, you can still catch
chlamydia if your genitals just touch the genitals of somebody else
who has it. back
Who can get chlamydia?
Anybody can get chlamydia, but it's more common among people who:
Every time you have sex with someone you increase your chances of
catching a sexually transmitted disease (STD). Your chances double if
you have two partners, triple if you have three partners, and greatly
increase the more sexual partners you have. But you can still get
chlamydia even if you've only had one sexual partner. back
Could I have chlamydia and not
It's possible to have chlamydia for months or years without
knowing it. You could have very mild symptoms or none at all. You can
lower your chances of getting chlamydia and other STDs by using condoms.
If you've had sex without a condom, even once, it's possible you could
have caught chlamydia. back
What can I do to avoid
If every boy you're with uses a condoms every time you have
intercourse or intimate
sexual contact, you can really lower your chances of getting
chlamydia. If you don't have sex or intimate sexual contact at all,
you can't get chlamydia. back
How do I know if I have chlamydia?
The most common symptoms of chlamydia are:
change in the smell or color of your vaginal
discharge, which will show up on your underpants or on toilet
paper when you go to the bathroom
pain when you have sexual intercourse
lower belly pain
bleeding like a mini period when you
don't expect your period
pain or a burning feeling when you pee
What should I do if I think I have
Remember, you can have chlamydia without knowing it. You may have very
mild symptoms or none at all. If you think you might have chlamydia,
make an appointment with your health professional to get tested. A
special test called a cervical
culture will tell if you have chlamydia. This test is done during
a pelvic exam.
During the pelvic exam, your health professional will take a sample of
some of the cells from your cervix with a cotton swab. The cells will
be tested to see if you have chlamydia. It may take about a week from
the time of your visit to find out if you have it. Your health
professional will call you or write you a letter to tell you. If it
says in the letter that you tested positive for chlamydia, it means
you have it. If you tested negative, you don't have it. But if your
health professional believes you have chlamydia, he or she will give
you some medicine to take right away. That's so you can start fighting
the infection without waiting for the test results. back
How do I get rid of chlamydia?
To treat chlamydia, you take an antibiotic.
The most popular antibiotic for chlamydia is called azithromycin.
It's popular because you only need one dose of it.
Many people who have chlamydia also have gonorrhea.
Your health professional will test you for both chlamydia and
gonorrhea at your appointment. If you also have gonorrhea, you will
need two separate drugs because the medicine that is used to treat
chlamydia does not work on gonorrhea. back
How do I know if the medicine
If you had symptoms of a chlamydia infection, such as a vaginal
discharge that looks or smells funny or burning when you pee, your
symptoms should start to get better within 48 hours after you take the
medicine. Your health professional may want to test you again in 1 to
2 months to be sure that you are cured. If you have questions or
concerns about your treatment, talk to your health professional. back
Should my partner be treated
Chlamydia is a sexually transmitted disease, so if you have it, your
partner probably has it. Your partner should see their health
professional to get tested. If your partner has chlamydia, they will
also have to take antibiotics. If you've had sex with more than one
partner, you should tell everyone you had sex with so they all can get
Can I have sex while I'm taking the
medicine for chlamydia?
You shouldn't have sex with anyone until the treatment is finished.
Otherwise, you may give it back to your partner or pass it on to
someone else before being completely cured. back
What if I have chlamydia, but I
don't do anything about it?
If you have chlamydia and you don't get help for it, you could develop
inflammatory disease (PID). PID is an infection of part of
system. The infection starts in the cervix, and travels through
to the fallopian
tubes and the ovaries.
PID can cause scarring of your reproductive organs, and this can
affect your ability to have children later in life. A person who has
PID can usually be cured with antibiotics. But sometimes the condition
is more severe and requires a hospital stay. back
Who should I talk to if I think I
You should call your health professional whenever you have vaginal
discharge that looks or smells funny, or if it hurts or burns when
you pee. Remember to have a pelvic
exam once every year, especially if you are sexually active.
During the pelvic exam, your health professional will do a test to see
if you have chlamydia. back