Chlamydia is a common sexually transmitted disease or infection (also called an STD or STI).
The infection can affect many parts of the body. The infection is often in the urinary tract and female organs. It’s important to find and treat chlamydia because it can cause painful infection and scarring of the female organs. It can cause infertility, which means you will be unable to get pregnant or will need medical help to get pregnant. The risk is greatest if you have an infection for weeks or months without treatment. Also, if you have chlamydia and then have unsafe sex with someone who has HIV, you are more likely to be infected with HIV.
The infection is caused by bacteria called chlamydia. It is usually passed from person to person during oral, vaginal, or anal sex. The infection can pass from a pregnant woman to her baby during birth. Chlamydia can cause eye infections or pneumonia in the baby.
Most people who are infected do not have any symptoms. This means you could pass the infection to your sexual partner without knowing that you are infected. Also, your partner can pass the infection to you without having any symptoms.
Symptoms may include:
Your healthcare provider will ask about your symptoms and sexual and medical history and examine you. Tests may include:
Healthcare providers recommend yearly tests for chlamydia in sexually active teens and young women up to age 25.
Chlamydia is treated with antibiotic medicine. You may need to take more than 1 antibiotic.
If the infection has spread into your female organs (uterus, ovaries, and Fallopian tubes) and you are very sick, you may need antibiotic treatment in the hospital for a few days.
Be sure to tell your healthcare provider if you are or may be pregnant. Your provider will prescribe an antibiotic that is safe for the baby.
You will be asked about your sexual partners. Your infection will be reported to the local health department and your sexual partners will be told that they have had contact with someone who has a sexually transmitted infection. (Your name will not be given.) This will help them get prompt treatment for the infection. It can also help prevent new infections.
Ask your healthcare provider if you should get checked again 3 months after treatment to make sure the treatment worked.