Clinical Features And Sequelae
- Genital infections with C. trachomatis present as urethritis and proctitis in men and women, cervicitis, salpingitis, endometritis and pelvic inflammatory disease in women, and orchitis, epididymitis and prostatitis in men.
- Perinatal transmission of C. trachomatis can result in conjunctivitis and pneumonia in newborns and young infants.
- Conjunctivitis and respiratory infections can be the result of contact with contaminated hands, or direct exposure to semen and vaginal fluids.
- At least 70% of genital C. trachomatis infections in women and 50% in men are asymptomatic at the time of diagnosis.
- The natural course of genital chlamydia infections is not well understood:
- Spontaneous resolution of asymptomatic infections is not uncommon.
- Asymptomatic infections, particularly endocervical infections, can persist for long periods.
- Many patients with asymptomatic infections will at some point develop symptoms and clinical disease.
- Asymptomatic infections can result in complications such as blocked tubes and pelvic inflammatory disease.
How Can I Protect Myself From Chlamydia
Its not always possible to know if a current or potential partner has chlamydia, though, especially since many people with chlamydia never notice symptoms. With prevention in mind, its a good idea to make safer sex practices a regular part of your sex life:
- Dont share sex toys, but if you do, wash them after each use and cover toys used for penetration with a condom.
- Have sex with only one partner, who only has sex with you.
How Is Chlamydia Transmitted
Newborn babies can acquire chlamydia from their mother during birth. Most prenatal testing includes a chlamydia test, but it doesnt hurt to double-check with an OB-GYN during the first prenatal checkup.
A chlamydia infection in the eye can occur through oral or genital contact with the eyes, but this isnt common.
- bleeding from this area
Having oral sex with someone who has the infection raises the risk of getting chlamydia in the throat. Symptoms can include a sore throat, cough, or fever. Its also possible to carry bacteria in the throat and not know it.
Who Should Get Tested For Chlamydia
Because chlamydia is very common and often has no symptoms, anyone who is sexually active should think about being tested. Because chlamydia is very common among young women, The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommend sexually active women age 25 or younger get tested once per year. Chlamydia testing is also recommended for women with new or multiple sexual partners and pregnant women.
Anyone who is sexually active should talk with a healthcare provider about whether they need testing for chlamydia or other STIs. Dont be afraid to speak openly about your sex life, as you can get the best care by having an honest discussion with your healthcare provider.
Chlamydia Is Only Contagious From Person To Person
You can only get chlamydia by having intimate sexual contact with an infected person, not from casual contact, touching another persons clothing, or consuming contaminated food or water.
The chlamydia organism lives only in human cells and cannot be transmitted by external contact, such as towels or toilet seats, Schaffir says.
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Learn More About Teen Sexual Health
- Measures of Teen Sexual Health on Kidsdata.org
- On kidsdata.org, indicators of teen sexual health include the number and rate of reported cases of chlamydia and gonorrhea among young people ages 10-19, at the county level overall, by age group, and by gender. Also available are state-level estimates of the percentage of teens ages 14-17 who have not had sex.
- Related Data
Are There Complications Of Chlamydia
Chlamydia can cause serious complications if it isnt treated promptly and properly.
For women, chlamydia can spread into the uterus and the fallopian tubes and cause pelvic inflammatory disease . This can cause problems with pregnancy, such as ectopic pregnancy. Women with untreated chlamydia have up to a 1 in 12 chance of becoming infertile. In men, chlamydia can spread to the testicles and the tubes that carry sperm, causing pain and fertility problems.
Pregnant women who are infected with chlamydia have a higher chance of miscarriage or premature birth. Their babies may also get an eye or lung infection. You can read more about chlamydia and pregnancy here.
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Health Services For Screening And Treatment Of Stis Remain Weak
People seeking screening and treatment for STIs face numerous problems. These include limited resources, stigmatization, poor quality of services and often out-of-pocket expenses.
In many settings, STI services in low- and middle-income countries are often neglected and underfunded. These problems lead to difficulties in providing screening for asymptomatic infections, insufficient number of trained personnel, limited laboratorycapacity and inadequate supplies of appropriate medicines.
How Do You Get Chlamydia
Chlamydia is a bacterial infection. The bacteria are usually spread through sex or contact with infected genital fluids .
You can get chlamydia through:
- sharing sex toys that are not washed or covered with a new condom each time they’re used
- infected semen or vaginal fluid getting into your eye
It can also be passed by a pregnant woman to her baby.
Chlamydia cannot be passed on through casual contact, such as kissing and hugging, or from sharing baths, towels, swimming pools, toilet seats or cutlery.
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Behaviour Change Is Complex
Despite considerable efforts to identify simple interventions that can reduce risky sexual behaviour, behaviour change remains a complex challenge. Research has demonstrated the need to focus on carefully defined populations, consult extensively withthe identified target populations, and involve them in design, implementation and evaluation.
Education and counselling can improve peoples ability to recognize the symptoms of STIs and increase the likelihood that they will seek care and encourage a sexual partner to do so. Unfortunately, lack of public awareness, lack of training amonghealth workers, and long-standing, widespread stigma around STIs remain barriers to greater and more effective use of these interventions.
You Can Get Chlamydia More Than Once
With some diseases, having one infection makes you immune to future infections. That’s not the case with chlamydia. If you engage in sexual activity with a person who has a chlamydia infection, you can get it again, even if you’ve just completed treatment for it.
“Both partners should be treated before reinitiating sexual intercourse to prevent relapse,” Schaffir says.
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What Does Chlamydia Infection Mean For My Health
Chlamydia can be treated and cured easily, but that doesnt mean that chlamydia infection isnt potentially dangerous. If chlamydia isnt diagnosed and left untreated, it can cause serious complications.
Untreated chlamydia infections in women may lead to:
- Pelvic inflammatory disease , a serious infection of the reproductive organs . Left untreated, PID can cause infertility , chronic pelvic pain, or ectopic pregnancy.
- A condition called mucopurulent cervicitis, characterized by a yellow discharge from the cervix
Untreated chlamydia in men may lead to:
- Scarring of the urethra
Chlamydia Can Be Prevented
The most effective way to avoid getting a sexually transmitted infection is to not have sex. However, if you wish to have sexual contact, you can reduce your risk of infection with these actions:
- Minimizing the number of partners with whom you have intimate contact
- Asking your partners to get screened for STDs before engaging in sexual activity
- Always using latex condoms when having intercourse of any kind
Additional reporting by Ingrid Strauch.
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Chlamydia Symptoms In Women
Chlamydia is often known as the silent infection. Thats because people with chlamydia may not experience symptoms at all.
If a woman contracts the STI, it may take several weeks before any symptoms appear.
Some of the most common symptoms of chlamydia in women include:
- painful sexual intercourse
The symptoms of PID are:
- abnormal vaginal bleeding between periods
Chlamydia can also infect the rectum. Women may not experience symptoms if they have a chlamydia infection in the rectum. If symptoms of a rectal infection do occur, however, they may include rectal pain, discharge, and bleeding.
Additionally, women can develop a throat infection if they have oral sex with someone with the infection. Though its possible to contract it without knowing it, symptoms of a chlamydia infection in your throat include cough, fever, and sore throat.
How Does Chlamydia Spread
Chlamydia is spread when a person has unprotected sex with an infected person.
Because chlamydial infection often has no symptoms, many people do not realise they have the infection.
Even if you know a person well, you may not be able to tell they have an STI, because people can look healthy and still have chlamydia.
Remember, you can get chlamydia and other STIs from a new sexual partner who has in the past had sex with someone who is infected.
It can also be spread from a long-term partner who has had sex with other people.
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Chlamydia Is Really Common
Chlamydia is a SUPER common bacterial infection that you can get from sexual contact with another person. Close to 3 million Americans get it every year, most commonly among 14-24-year-olds.
Chlamydia can be easily cleared up with antibiotics. But if you dont treat chlamydia, it may lead to major health problems in the future. Thats why STD testing is so important the sooner you know you have chlamydia, the faster you can cure it. You can prevent chlamydia by using condoms every time you have sex.
How To Help Partners Get Treatment
If you are not sure whether your sexual partner will seek treatment, ask your doctor for extra chlamydia medication . You can give it to them so they can be treated as soon as possible.
This is known as patient delivered partner therapy for chlamydia. Talk to your doctor to see if PDPT is right for you and your sexual partner.
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How Is Chlamydia Treated
Once confirmed, chlamydia is easy to treat with antibiotics . Normally, only a single course is needed to clear the infection.
You may be asked to start antibiotics even before your test results come back. If your chlamydia infection is causing symptoms, you may need a longer course of antibiotics. Both you and your partner need to be treated.
If your doctor tells you that you have chlamydia, avoid sex until you have finished the full course of treatment, and for at least 1 week after your last dose. This is to reduce your risk of spreading the disease. You should have another test 3 months after you have been treated.
Youll also be asked to avoid sex with any partners from the past 6 months until they have been tested and treated.
Since chlamydia is transmitted through unprotected sex, your doctor may suggest you have other STI screening tests so you can be treated as necessary.
You dont become ‘immune’ after getting chlamydia: its possible to be infected with chlamydia again. Your doctor may recommend follow-up testing and treatment if necessary.
Chlamydia Is Common But Many People Dont Realize They Have It
About 1.7 million chlamydia infections were reported to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in 2017, but the real number is likely higher because chlamydia is considered an underreported infection.
“The number of reported cases is substantially lower than the true estimated incidence,” says Bradley Stoner, MD, PhD, associate professor of medicine at the Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis and former president of the American Sexually Transmitted Diseases Association.
The National Notifiable Diseases Surveillance System relies on state and local public health departments to collect and report data on chlamydia to the CDC. Those public health departments depend on individual physicians, hospitals, and laboratories to report cases of chlamydia to them. Accurate statistics require all parties to routinely comply with disease-reporting mandates.
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How Do I Protect Myself From Chlamydia
Always use a condom. You can get free condoms from the sexual health clinic. Condoms are the best way to protect yourself and others from chlamydia and other STIs, including HIV. If you havenât liked using condoms in the past try different ones, there are many different varieties now designed to increase pleasure and sensation.
Get regularly tested for chlamydia if you have more than one sexual partner. Talk to your doctor about your sex life and how often you should be tested for chlamydia .
If youâve had chlamydia once, you can get it again â and again. Thatâs why itâs important to get tested regularly, especially if you have a lot of casual sex.
How Common Is Asymptomatic Chlamydia
As we mentioned above, its possible for someone to have an asymptomatic case of chlamydia and pass it to a new partner. Its difficult to determine exactly how many people have chlamydia, but the CDC has estimated that there were approximately four million new cases of chlamydia in the United States in 2018.
According to HealthDirect, 3 out of 4 women and 1 out 2 men wont show symptoms of chlamydia. Women can have asymptomatic chlamydia for many years, and men can have it for several months. So its entirely possible for you to be experiencing symptoms of chlamydia because your partner was asymptomatic and gave you the infection without knowing it.
According to Avert, the symptoms of chlamydia can include:
- Increased vaginal discharge that can be white, yellow, or grayish
- Bleeding or spotting after having sex or urinating
- Lower abdominal pain, particularly after sex
- Pain during intercourse and/or urination
- Painful or swollen testicles
- Watery or mucous-like, white, or cloudy penile discharge
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When Can I Have Sex Again
If you were diagnosed with chlamydia, wait to have sex again until you have finished your treatment.
For some antibiotics, such as doxycycline, this means may need to wait 1 week to have sex, or until you have completed your prescribed course of treatment.
If you were prescribed a single dose of medication, like azithromycin, wait 7 days after taking the medication before having sex.
Can You Prevent Chlamydia
You can lower your risk of getting chlamydia and other STIs by:
- not having sex with someone with chlamydia, even with a condom, until theyve finished treatment and 1 week has passed since their last dose of antibiotics
- regularly getting tested for STIs, especially if you are under 30 and sexually active
Remember that most people with chlamydia dont show any symptoms and dont know they have it, so feeling ‘well’ does not mean that you or your partner are not infected. If in doubt, get tested.
If you have chlamydia, you can help reduce the spread by letting your recent sexual partners know so they can get tested and treated.
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Million Americans Have Chlamydia Report Finds
Nearly 2 million people in the United States have the sexually transmitted disease chlamydia, according to new estimates from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
In a new report, researchers at the CDC analyzed information from a national survey of more than 8,000 people ages 14 to 39 who provided urine samples for STD testing for the survey.
The researchers found that between 2007 and 2012, about 1.7 percent of people in this age group had a chlamydia infection, which translates to about 1.8 million infections nationwide.
Chlamydia infections were more common in people who had two or more sex partners in the last year. The researchers found that 3.2 percent of people with two or more partners had chlamydia, compared with 1.4 percent of people who had one partner.
Sexually active women had a higher rate of infection than men . Young women had a particularly high rate of infection: Among sexually active females ages 14 to 24, chlamydia infection occurred in 4.7 percent. Among young black females, the rate of infection was 13.5 percent, compared to 1.8 percent in white females.
“Clinicians should routinely screen young women and men who have sex with men for chlamydia and ensure that infected patients and their sex partners receive timely treatment to prevent reinfection,” the report said.
Letting Partners Know You Have Chlamydia
Sexual partners may be infected too. If you have chlamydia, anyone you have had sex with from the last 6 months needs to be informed, tested and treated.
If they dont know, they could reinfect you or infect someone else if they are not treated. dont receive treatment.
Most people will appreciate being told they may have an infection and it is an important step in preventing further infection in the community.
Your local GP and sexual health centre can help you inform your partners and let them know that they need a test. This process is called partner notification. It can be done anonymously, and your confidentiality is always respected.
You can also anonymously notify your sexual partners of the need to get tested and treated for chlamydia via the Let Them Know website if you feel unable to speak to them personally.
There are also nurses who can help you anonymously notify your partners. They can be contacted on .
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