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5 min read

What is Chlamydia?

What is Chlamydia?

Chlamydia is a bacterial infection that is spread through vaginal, oral, or anal sex which means it can affect the vagina, penis, anus, or throat. While Chlamydia is a very common sexually transmitted infection (STI), it can lead to reproductive issues if left untreated.

What are signs and symptoms?

While symptoms of Chlamydia may appear, its important to remember that Chlamydia may be asymptomatic. This means, the infection can be present without symptoms. Also, symptoms may not occur for weeks after having sexual contact with someone who has Chlamydia. So, please don’t wait for symptoms to develop before Below are the sign and symptoms for each area of the body that can be infected with Chlamydia:

Vaginal Symptoms:

  • Burning sensation while urinating
  • Abnormal discharge

Penile Symptoms:

  • Burning sensation while urinating
  • Abnormal discharge
  • Pain and/or swelling in one or both testicles (less common)

Rectal Symptoms:

  • Abnormal discharge
  • Bleeding from the anus
  • Rectal pain

Throat Symptoms:

  • Sore throat
  • Dental problems
  • Mouth pain
  • Mouth sores that don’t heal
  • Sores around lips and mouth

*Even though throat infections due to chlamydia are low, infection can still occur and be asymptomatic

Who is at risk?

Anyone who is sexually active and having vaginal, anal or oral sex without a condom is at risk of contracting Chlamydia. However, certain groups are at higher risk. People with multiple sex partners or a new sex partner, and people 25 and younger are at higher risk of infection. Also, gay and bisexual men and pregnant people are also at risk for infection. If you are apart of any of these groups of people, talk to doctor about getting tested for Chlamydia.

What happens if Chlamydia goes untreated?

If left untreated, Chlamydia can increase the likelihood of getting or giving other STIs, including HIV. Also, untreated Chlamydia can lead to Pelvic Inflammatory Disease, also know as PID. PID can cause permanent damage to the fallopian tubes, and uterus in persons with vaginas. This can lead to infertility or the risk having an ectopic pregnancy (pregnancy that occurs outside of the uterus). While the risk of infertility in people with a penis is lower, there is still a risk of infertility and other issues including epididymitis (swelling of the epididymis which is located behind the testicles)

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
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Deirdra Bridgett
Public Health professional with over a decade of diverse experience in the field. With a rich background as a Patient Navigator, Health Educator, and Program Supervisor, she has mastered the art of connecting individuals with the resources they need and navigating the complexities of care seamlessly. Her career is defined by a passion for advocacy and program management, where she thrives on addressing challenges head-on and crafting innovative solutions. Whether it's advocating for policy change or developing programs to empower communities, she is dedicated to making a tangible impact.

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