How Common Is Chlamydia
Very. In the United States, chlamydia is the most common bacterial sexually transmitted infection . In 2018, nearly 1.8 million cases of chlamydia were reported to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention . However, it is estimated that almost 3 million cases actually occur each year.
Chlamydia is most common in younger people. It is estimated that 1 in 20 sexually active young women aged 14-24 years has chlamydia.
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.
How Dangerous Is Genital Herpes
Many people who have genital herpes dont know it and dont have symptoms. But sometimes, there can be serious complications.
If your partner is pregnant or trying to get pregnant, genital herpes is a major concern. This is because the virus that causes herpes can pass to the baby, which can be very dangerous. The womans doctor needs to know about it.
Genital herpes is also more serious for people with HIV and other conditions that weaken the immune system.
For some people, depression can be a risk if they have problems adjusting to their symptoms or the impact on their sex life.
How Do You Prevent Chlamydia
Chlamydia can be passed on by sharing sex toys. Always cover sex toys with a new condom and wash them after use to reduce your risk of getting chlamydia and other STIs.
Its important to regularly test for chlamydia, even if you dont have any symptoms, especially if youve had multiple sexual partners.
The contraceptive pill and other types of contraception wont prevent you getting chlamydia, and neither will PrEP.
Chlamydia Is Caused By Sexually Transmitted Bacteria
The bacteria Chlamydia trachomatis causes chlamydia infection, which usually occurs in the genital tract, so the cervix in women and the penis in men. In both women and men, the bacteria may also infect the rectum and the throat.
“Infections are spread during any kind of sexual activity: vaginal, anal, or oral intercourse,” says Jonathan Schaffir, MD, an ob-gyn at Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center in Columbus.
Chlamydia trachomatis can also cause conjunctivitis if the bacteria come into contact with the eyelids or the clear membrane covering the white of the eye.
Because chlamydia infections often cause no symptoms, individuals who have one may not seek medical attention or get treated for it. However, anyone who is infected with chlamydia can pass it to other people, who can, in turn, pass it to others.
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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
How Can I Have Chlamydia When He Doesn’t
Me and my partner have been together for 5 months now. I have just recently been tested positive for an STI . My partner and I have never used condoms because I am on the pill. My partner went and got himself tested and his results came back negative. How is that possible?
Heather Corinna replies:
If you had a partner before him for oral, vaginal or anal sex, that could be who you got it from and your current partner managed not to contract it from you , or contracted it so recently that he isn’t testing positive yet. Or, your current partner’s test wasn’t accurate, or he said he got tested and truly did not. Any of those things are the biggest possibilities of what’s up here.
A typical practice in healthcare with Chlamydia is this: when your doctor prescribes you a treatment, they ask for your partner’s name and give you a prescription for him as well. In other words, if you know you have only had one partner when you contracted the infection, it is that partner who has the infection, and there’s no need for testing. Regardless, since you have been with this partner while you’ve had the infection, he should be treated, so call into your healthcare provider to get him that treatment. And if you had not had a screening before this partner and had a partner or partners before him, then you’ll want to phone those people — or you can use an anonymous notification service — to inform them about the STI so they can be treated.
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Could My Partner Have Picked Up Genital Herpes From A Toilet Seat Or Hot Tub
It’s very rare, if not impossible, to get genital herpes any other way than by sexual contact. The CDCs website puts it this way: You will not get herpes from toilet seats, bedding, or swimming pools, or from touching objects around you such as silverware, soap, or towels.
Keep in mind that many people have genital herpes for years or even decades without knowing it. When they are diagnosed, their monogamous partners often assume they were unfaithful, which may not be true. It could be something they got a long time ago. A blood test wont tell you when you got herpes or who you got it from.
The New England Journal of Medicine: “Herpes Simplex Virus Type 2 in the United States, 1976 to 1994.”
American Sexual Health Association, National Herpes Resource Center.
National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases : “Genital Herpes.”
MedlinePlus Medical Encyclopedia: “Herpes genital .”
CDC: “Sexually Transmitted Diseases Treatment Guidelines 2002.”
WebMD Medical News: “Herpes Virus Linked to Cervical Cancer.”
Terri Warren, RN, Westover Heights Clinic.
Warren, T., and Warren, R., The Updated Herpes Handbook, Portland Press, 2002.
CDC: Genital Herpes — CDC Fact Sheet.
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 is spread through vaginal, anal, and oral sex. The infection is carried in semen , pre-cum, and vaginal fluids. Chlamydia can infect the penis, vagina, cervix, anus, urethra, eyes, and throat. Most people with chlamydia dont have any symptoms and feel totally fine, so they might not even know theyre infected.
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.
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Why Do Partners Need Treatment For Chlamydia
People who have Chlamydia, especially women, usually have no symptoms, so may have an infection without even knowing. If they dont get medication to treat it they can pass it back to you or onto other people, which isnt good for anyone, right? Sometimes Chlamydia can cause serious health problems, including infertility. So its really important people get the chance to be treated if you think they might have it.
Do I Need To Get Tested For Chlamydia
- If you are 24 or younger and have sex, you need to get tested for chlamydia. Chlamydia is most common in women between 15 and 24 years old. You need to get tested if you have had any symptoms of chlamydia since your last negative test result or if your sex partner has chlamydia.
- If you are older than 24, you need to get tested if, in the past year or since your last test, you:
- Had a new sex partner
- Had your sex partner tell you they have chlamydia
- Traded sex for money or drugs
- Have had chlamydia or another STI in the past
- Did not use condoms during sex and are in a relationship that is not monogamous, meaning you or your partner has sex with other people
You also need to be tested if you are pregnant or if you have any symptoms of chlamydia.
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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.
How Often Should I Get Checked For Chlamydia
Sexual health check-ups are recommended for anyone who is sexually active. Frequency of testing also depends on your STI risk:
- An annual sexual health check-up is highly recommended if you are sexually active especially if you are under 25.
- Get checked more often during the year if you frequently change sexual partners.
- Remember, you are at greater risk if you have sex without a condom with 1 or multiple sexual partners.
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How Is Chlamydia Spread
You can get chlamydia by having vaginal, anal, or oral sex with someone who has chlamydia.
If your sex partner is male you can still get chlamydia even if he does not ejaculate .
If youve had chlamydia and were treated in the past, you can still get infected again. This can happen if you have unprotected sex with someone who has chlamydia.
How To Avoid Catching Chlamydia In The Future
The easiest way to prevent the spread of chlamydia during sexual intercourse is by wearing a condom when having sex with a new sexual partner. You should always wear a condom during sex until both people in a relationship have had the opportunity to get tested. Remember, just like many other STIs, chlamydia shows no symptoms and its always wise to undergo a regular sexual health screen to know for sure that youre all clear.
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Im Pregnant How Does Chlamydia Affect My Baby
If you are pregnant and have chlamydia, you can pass the infection to your baby during delivery. This could cause an eye infection or pneumonia in your newborn. Having chlamydia may also make it more likely to deliver your baby too early.
If you are pregnant, you should get tested for chlamydia at your first prenatal visit. Testing and treatment are the best ways to prevent health problems.
What If I Don’t Get It Treated
If chlamydia is left untreated it can become a serious threat to your health.
Chlamydia can spread from your cervix to your uterus and fallopian tubes. It can cause pelvic inflammatory disease , which can damage and block your tubes. You may not be able to get pregnant if both tubes are blocked because sperm are unable to reach the egg. If you have had PID you are more at risk of having an ectopic pregnancy or long-term pelvic pain.
Chlamydia can spread from your penis to your testicles and cause painful swelling. You can become infertile.
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Can Chlamydia Be Transmitted Sexually
Rectal chlamydial infections are almost always sexually transmitted. Just because your sex partner doesnt have symptoms of chlamydia, that doesnt mean that he or she didnt give you the disease. Up to 25 percent of women who have chlamydia and 75 percent of men who have chlamydia show no symptoms of the infection.
Is Chlamydia Serious
Although chlamydia does not usually cause any symptoms and can normally be treated with a short course of antibiotics, it can be serious if it’s not treated early on.
If left untreated, the infection can spread to other parts of your body and lead to long-term health problems, especially in women.
In women, untreated chlamydia can cause pelvic inflammatory disease , ectopic pregnancy and infertility.
In men, in rare cases, chlamydia can spread to the testicles and epididymis , causing them to become painful and swollen. This is known as epididymitis or epididymo-orchitis .
It can also sometimes cause reactive arthritis in men and women.
This is why it’s important to get tested and treated as soon as possible if you think you might have chlamydia.
Testing for chlamydia is done with a urine test or a swab test.
You do not always need a physical examination by a nurse or doctor.
Anyone can get a free and confidential chlamydia test at a sexual health clinic, a genitourinary medicine clinic or a GP surgery.
In England, if you’re a woman under 25 years old, you may be offered a chlamydia test when you visit some health services, for example a pharmacy or GP. This offer is part of the National Chlamydia Screening Programme .
If you’re offered a chlamydia test you should consider taking it.
If you’re a woman, sexually active and under 25 in England, it’s recommended that you have a chlamydia test once a year, and when you have sex with new or casual partners.
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What Do I Need To Do
- In NSW, PDPT is being offered at some Publicly Funded Sexual Health Clinics and some Family Planning Clinics call 1800 451 624 to find out where in NSW. If you live outside of NSW check with your doctor as its not available everywhere in Australia
- Make sure you read or print off these fact sheets for you and your partner/s. This one is for you and this one is for your partners
Other Complications Of Untreated Chlamydia In All People
- Conjunctivitis, spread by touching the infected area and then touching the hand to the eye
- Inflammation of the mucous membrane of the rectum , if the chlamydia is from anal sex
- Varied symptoms, such as joint and eye inflammation, caused by bacterial infection
- Lymphogranuloma venereum, or LGV. This is caused by a type of chlamydia that is usually rare in Canada and the United States, but it is becoming more common in men who have sex with men. It causes open sores in the genital area, headache, fever, fatigue, and swelling of the lymph nodes in the groin. It also causes proctitis in people who get chlamydia through anal sex.
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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:
- unprotected vaginal, anal or oral sex
- sharing sex toys that are not washed or covered with a new condom each time they’re used
- your genitals coming into contact with your partner’s genitals this means you can get chlamydia from someone even if there’s no penetration, orgasm or ejaculation
- 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.
Testing And Treating Sexual Partners
If you test positive for chlamydia, it’s important that your current sexual partner and any other recent sexual partners you’ve had are also tested and treated.
A specialist sexual health adviser can help you contact your recent sexual partners, or the clinic can contact them for you if you prefer.
Either you or someone from the clinic can speak to them, or the clinic can send them a note to let them know they may have been exposed to a sexually transmitted infection .
The note will suggest that they go for a check-up. It will not have your name on it, so your confidentiality will be protected.
Page last reviewed: 01 September 2021 Next review due: 01 September 2024
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Can Chlamydia Be Cured
Yes, chlamydia can be cured with the right treatment. It is important that you take all of the medication your doctor prescribes to cure your infection. When taken properly it will stop the infection and could decrease your chances of having complications later on. You should not share medication for chlamydia with anyone.
Repeat infection with chlamydia is common. You should be tested again about three months after you are treated, even if your sex partner was treated.