Chlamydia is a
sexually transmitted disease
(STD) that can result in many types of infections in both women and men. It is the most commonly reported infectious disease in the United States even though many cases go unreported because people don't know they have it. Chlamydia can cause serious reproductive complications if left untreated. The good news is that chlamydia is detectable, curable, and easy to treat.
Chlamydia is caused by a specific bacterium. It is transmitted via body fluids through oral, vaginal, or anal sex with an infected partner. The bacterium infects the cervix (entrance to the uterus), urethra (the tube that carries urine from the body), rectum, or throat depending on the route of transmission. You can transmit and acquire chlamydia without ejaculation.
Transmission can also occur from an infected mother to a newborn during childbirth. The baby is exposed to the bacteria in the birth canal, which may cause
(an eye infection) or
(a lung infection).
You can be exposed to more than one STD at a time. Other STDs include
, human papillomavirus (HPV), or
. The doctor may test for other STDs if chlamydia is suspected or diagnosed.
Chlamydia—CDC fact sheet. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website. Available at:
http://www.cdc.gov/std/chlamydia/STDFact-chlamydia-detailed.htm. Updated January 7, 2014. Accessed July 30, 2014.
Chlamydia genital infection. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at:
http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed. Updated June 30, 2014. Accessed July 30, 2014.
de Vrieze NH, de Vries HJ. Lymphogranuloma venereum among men who have sex with men. An epidemiological and clinical review. Expert Rev Anti Infect Ther. 2014;12(6):697-704.
Mishori R, McClaskey, EL, et al.
infections: Screening, diagnosis, and management. Am Fam Physician. 2012;86(12):1127-1132.
Workowski KA, Berman S, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Sexually Transmitted Diseases Treatment Guidelines, 2010.
Last reviewed March 2015 by David L. Horn, MD, FACP
Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.
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