Chlamydia

Chlamydia is one of the most common sexually-transmitted infections (STI). It doesn’t usually present with symptoms in the earlier stages of the disease which makes it easy to overlook and diagnose. A study in 2007 (Saison, et al.) discovered that this disease had a prevalence rate of 27 to 36% among female Filipino sex workers.

Last Updated: February 21, 2024

Chlamydia is caused by the bacteria Chlamydia trachomatis. It is found in the vaginal discharge or semen of infected individuals and is usually spread through sexual contact without a barrier form of protection (condom, vaginal condom, etc.). A pregnant mother can also give the disease to her child during childbirth when the baby passes through the mother’s vaginal canal. 

 

Having multiple sexual partners can increase the risk of a person contracting chlamydia but kissing, hugging, or sharing utensils with someone who has this disease will not cause infection.

Early-stage chlamydia infection does not usually present with signs and symptoms. Even if symptoms do occur, they are often mild which makes them easy to overlook. 

 

Chlamydia usually affects the genital tract; signs and symptoms in men include:

  • Painful urination (burning sensation)
  • Pus-like penis discharge (white, yellow, or green)
  • Pain or swelling in the testicles

 

Symptoms of chlamydia infection in women include:

  • Painful urination
  • Abnormal vaginal discharge
  • Vaginal bleeding between periods (sometimes after sexual intercourse)
  • Abdominal or pelvic pain

 

Men and women can also get chlamydia in their rectum through anal sex or when the infection spread from another site. Rectal symptoms include:

  • Rectal pain
  • Discharge
  • Bleeding

 

Babies that get chlamydia during birth usually present with eye infections and sometimes pneumonia.

Urine tests are sufficient enough to diagnose a person with gonorrhea. If a patient is sexually active, the physician may collect samples from the genital, rectum, or throat and request a culture to confirm infection.

 

For treatment of chlamydial infections, a physician will usually prescribe a round of oral azithromycin which should be enough to cure the disease. However, it is important to know that chlamydia has started to become resistant to some antibiotics and it is essential that a prescribed round of antibiotics must be completed.

Using barrier type protection, such as condoms and female condoms, during sexual intercourse can reduce a person’s risk for chlamydia. One can also limit the number of sexual partners they have to minimize the chance of infection. 

 

For a sexually active individual, it is highly recommended that they undergo regular testing for this disease to treat any infections as early as possible. If ever a person does test positive, they should inform their previous sexual partners of their diagnosis so they could also get treatment as soon as possible. 

 

References:

Centers of Disease Control and Prevention. (n.d.). Chlamydia. Retrieved from https://www.cdc.gov/std/chlamydia/stdfact-chlamydia.htm 

Henigsman, S. (2021). Everything you need to know about chlamydia infection. Healthline. Retrieved from https://www.healthline.com/health/std/chlamydia 

Saison, F. Tapay, L., Michel, C., Buttress, N., Nadala, E., Magbanua, J., Harding-Esch, E., Villaruel, M., Caning, L., Celis, R., & Lee, H. (2007). Prevalence of Chlamydia trachomatis infection among low- and high-risk Filipino women and performance of Chlamydia rapid tests in resource limited settings. Journal of Clinical Microbiology, 45(12), 4011-4017. https://doi.org/10.1128%2FJCM.01343-07 

Wisconsin Department of Health Services. Chlamydia Treatment Information Sheet. https://www.dhs.wisconsin.gov/publications/p0/p00197.pdf 

Last Updated: February 21, 2024