• Basics

    Chlamydia is the most common sexually-transmitted bacterial disease (STD) in the U.S. Chlamydia is a bacterial infection that is transmitted during contact with the genital or rectal area of an infected person. The majority of people who contract chlamydia are under the age of 25. It is a disease that often does not produce symptoms, so it possible to have it, not realize it, and pass it to someone else unknowingly. The one absolute way of preventing chlamydia is to avoid genital sexual contact. Chlamydia is treated with antibiotics.

    Chlamydia is often called "the silent epidemic." People with chlamydia may have very mild symptoms or no symptoms at all, so the condition is often overlooked. If left untreated this infection can lead to serious damage to the reproductive organs. For women these complications include pelvic inflammatory disease (PID), infertility, and a dangerous condition of pregnancy called ectopic pregnancy. This happens when the embryo starts growing outside of the womb, usually in one of the fallopian tubes. As the fetus develops, it can cause a life-threatening rupture of the tube.

    Men may suffer from an inflammation of the duct that drains the testis, a condition called epididymitis. Less common is inflammation of the testicles (orchitis). There is also a risk of infertility.

    Chlamydia can be treated and cured with antibiotics easily and quickly. Sexual partners of a person with chlamydia should also receive antibiotic treatment to prevent transmitting the disease back to their partner.

  • Causes

    Chlamydia is transmitted from bacteria carried by humans. Chlamydia is usually passed from person to person through sexual activity. The infection is transmitted during contact with the genital or rectal area of an infected person. It can also be transmitted from a mother to her baby during birth. Chlamydia is not transmitted through casual contact (toilet seats, hot tubs, saunas, or swimming pools).

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