Chlamydia is one of the most common STIs, especially among people ages 15 to 24. If not treated properly, chlamydia can cause infertility (the inability to have children) in both women and men. It can also cause pelvic inflammatory disease (PID) in women.
How do you get/spread it?
Chlamydia is a bacterial infection that can be passed from an infected partner through unprotected vaginal, anal or oral sex. If you are pregnant you can pass it on to your baby when you are giving birth.
How can you tell if you have it?
Most people who are infected have no symptoms. You can pass it on without even knowing you have it. For those who have symptoms, they are usually noticed anywhere from 2 days to 2 weeks after getting the infection.
Symptoms in females include:
- A change or an increase in discharge from the vagina.
- Redness or itchiness of the vagina.
- Pain when you urinate and/or the need to urinate often.
- Bleeding or spotting when not on period.
- Bleeding during or after vaginal sex.
- Pain in the lower abdomen and/or painful bowel movements.
Symptoms in males include:
- Pain or burning when you urinate.
- Burning or itching around the opening of the penis.
- Watery, white drip from penis.
- The need to urinate often.
- Tenderness and/or swelling of the testicles.
How do you get tested?
You can be tested through a urine sample or swab. A urine sample is painless and the most common way to be tested. Testing may also be done during a PAP but is not the same as a PAP test.
Where do I get tested?
Both forms of testing are available through your healthcare provider or the Sexual Health Clinic. Contact the Sexual Health Clinic for more information.
How is it treated?
Chlamydia can be treated with antibiotics. This means that the infection will go away, but you can get the infection again if you have sex with someone who is infected. You should not have sex until 7 days after you finished your antibiotics.
It is important to tell your sexual partner or partners that you have chlamydia because they will need to be treated as well. You and your partner should not have sex until you have completed treatment and have been told that the infection is gone.
How do I NOT get chlamydia?
The only way to protect yourself 100% is to not have sex. If you choose to have sex, you should use a condom every time, even if you are using birth control, to lower your chance of getting chlamydia or other STIs. Free condoms are available through the health unit.