Chlamydia

Chlamydia is a bacterial sexually transmitted infection (STI). Caused by the bacterium Chlamydia trachomatis, it is the most frequently reported bacterial STI in the United States, with roughly 1.7 million cases each year. It is most common in young adults between the ages of 15 and 24.

People who are sexually active may have chlamydia and not know it as it often doesn’t cause symptoms. When present, symptoms include vaginal or penile discharge, redness and swelling of genitalia, painful urination, and painful ejaculation in men. Chlamydia is treated with antibiotics. 

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Is chlamydia curable?

    Yes. Chlamydia is a sexually transmitted bacterial infection and usually clears up with a course of antibiotics. It is commonly treated with either Zithromax (azithromycin) or Vibramycin/Doryx (doxycycline).

  • What are the symptoms of chlamydia?

    Chlamydia is often called the silent infection because symptoms are not always present. The most common symptoms include discharge from the vagina or penis, painful urination, and red, swollen, itchy, or painful genitals.

  • What does discharge from chlamydia look like?

    Unusual discharge from the penis or vagina is common with a chlamydia infection. The consistency of the discharge can range from thin to thick and clumpy. The discharge may be clear or opaque and may be of a white, yellow, or yellow-green color.

  • How do you get chlamydia?

    Chlamydia is transmitted through unprotected vaginal, anal, or oral sex. Caused by the bacterium Chlamydia trachomatis, it is spread through intimate contact with infected body fluids, including semen or vaginal mucus. Condoms are the most effective protection against this STD.

  • Can you get chlamydia from kissing?

    No, you cannot catch chlamydia from kissing. Chlamydia is spread through contact with infected body fluids, including semen, pre-ejaculatory fluid, and vaginal secretions. It is not transmitted through saliva.

Key Terms
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  1. U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Chlamydia – CDC fact sheet (detailed). Updated October 4, 2016. 

  2. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Chlamydial Infections. Updated June 4, 2015.

Additional Reading