Chlamydia - Topic Overview
"kluh-MID-ee-uh") is an infection spread through sexual contact. This infection
urethra in men. In women, it infects the urethra and
cervix and can spread to the
reproductive organs. It is one of the most common
sexually transmitted infections (STIs).
Chlamydia does not cause problems if you treat it right away. But left
untreated, it can lead to serious problems, especially for women:
- If it spreads, it can cause
pelvic inflammatory disease. This serious infection
can make it hard or impossible for a woman to get
- Pregnant women who have chlamydia often pass it to their
babies at birth. If the infection gets in a baby's eyes, it can cause
blindness. They can also have other problems, like
pneumonia. Pneumonia can be deadly in a
- Having chlamydia makes a person more likely to get
HIV from someone who is infected with HIV. HIV is the
virus that causes AIDS.
A certain kind of bacteria
causes chlamydia. It can spread from one partner to another through vaginal,
anal, or oral sex. A pregnant woman can pass the infection to her
newborn during delivery.
Most people don't have
symptoms. When symptoms do occur, they can include pain when you urinate,
cloudy urine, or an abnormal discharge from the penis or vagina.
You can spread chlamydia even if you do not have symptoms. You are
contagious until you have been treated.
Your doctor will ask
you questions about your past health and your sexual history, such as how many
partners you have. You may also have a physical exam to look for signs of
Several types of tests can be used to diagnose
chlamydia. Most use a sample of urine or a swab from the cervix, vagina, or
Since chlamydia can cause serious problems but may not
cause symptoms, it's a good idea to get tested once a year if you are sexually
active and in your mid-20s or younger. Local health departments and family
planning clinics usually offer low-cost testing.