Chlamydia is a bacterial STI which is curable with antibiotics. When it’s left untreated, chlamydia can result in reproductive problems.
How is chlamydia spread?
- Chlamydia is transmitted through unprotected vaginal, anal or oral sex with an infected partner
- An infected mother can pass it on to her baby during vaginal childbirth
- It is extremely contagious and any sexually active person can get it
- People are frequently re-infected if they have sex before their treatment is completed or if their partners are not treated
- After getting chlamydia once, you do not become “immune” to it. You can be infected again anytime if you are exposed to the bacteria again.
Chlamydia is the most frequently reported bacterial STI in Victoria, BC, and Canada. Some reports suggest that as many as 1 in 10 sexually active youth are infected and don`t know it because they haven`t been tested.
How do you prevent chlamydia?
To reduce your risk of Chlamydia:
- Use condoms during vaginal and anal sex.
- Use condoms and oral dams during oral sex.
- Get tested for chlamydia regularly (It’s free and confidential)
- Talk about past sexual partners with your current partner(s).
What are the symptoms of Chlamydia?
Chlamydia is known as “the silent disease” because it shows no symptoms in about 75% of infected females and 50% of infected males. For those few who do develop symptoms, they usually appear within 3 weeks after sex with an infected person. Chlamydia bacteria can infect the cervix, urethra or rectum, and sometimes the throat after oral sex. Chlamydia may cause symptoms such as different vaginal discharge, burning when urinating, bleeding in between periods or after intercourse, or lower abdominal pain, itching in the penis, discharge from the penis or rarely pain or swelling of the testicles.
What are the risks of untreated chlamydia?
For females, chlamydia can spread to the reproductive organs resulting in pelvic inflammatory disease (PID). PID can cause permanent damage resulting in infertility, ectopic pregnancy or chronic pelvic pain.
For males, untreated chlamydia infections can cause prostate swelling, inflammation of the urethra, infection of the tube that carries sperm from the testes (epididymitis) and rarely infertility.
In rare cases, chlamydia infections can cause arthritis with skin lesions (Reiter’s syndrome)
How does a person get tested for Chlamydia?
Lab tests can be done with a urine sample or by taking a swab from the infected site such as the cervix, urethra, rectum, or throat.
Testing is private and free with a carecard.
How is Chlamydia treated?
Chlamydia is easily treated and cured with free antibiotics (as long as you finish all the medication). All recent sex partners (within previous 60 days ) need to be treated. You need to abstain from having sex until 1 week after you and your partner have completed the entire course of antibiotics—if not, you can easily become re-infected.