Ricker Polsdorfer, MD
Michael Jubinville, MPH
Chlamydia is a
sexually transmitted disease
(STD) that can result in many types of infections in both women and men. It is the most commonly reported infectious disease in the United States even though many cases go unreported because people don't know they have it. Chlamydia can cause serious reproductive complications if left untreated. The good news is that chlamydia is detectable, curable, and easy to treat.
Chlamydia is caused by a specific bacterium called chlamydia trachomatis. It is transmitted via body fluids through oral, vaginal, or anal sex with an infected partner. The bacterium infects the cervix (entrance to the uterus), urethra (the tube that carries urine from the body), rectum, or throat depending on the route of transmission. You can transmit and acquire chlamydia without ejaculation.
Transmission can also occur from an infected mother to a newborn during childbirth. The baby is exposed to the bacteria in the birth canal, which may cause
(an eye infection) or
(a lung infection).
You can be exposed to more than one STD at a time. Other STDs include
gonorrhea, human papillomavirus (HPV), or HIV. You may be tested for other STDs if chlamydia is suspected or diagnosed.
Chlamydia—CDC fact sheet. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website. Available at:
http://www.cdc.gov/std/chlamydia/STDFact-chlamydia-detailed.htm. Updated September 24, 2015. Accessed March 14, 2016.
Chlamydia genital infection. EBSCO DynaMed Plus website. Available at:
https://www.dynamed.com/topics/dmp~AN~T114223/Chlamydia-genital-infection. Updated February 15, 2016. Accessed October 6, 2016.
de Vrieze NH, de Vries HJ. Lymphogranuloma venereum among men who have sex with men. An epidemiological and clinical review. Expert Rev Anti Infect Ther. 2014;12(6):697-704.
Mishori R, McClaskey, EL, et al.
infections: Screening, diagnosis, and management. Am Fam Physician. 2012;86(12):1127-1132.
Workowski KA, Berman S, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Sexually Transmitted Diseases Treatment Guidelines, 2010.
Last reviewed March 2016 by Marcie L. Sidman, MD
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