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Chlamydia 101

Updated: Mar 30, 2020

What is it

Chlamydia is a common Sexually Transmitted Infection (STI) caused by a bacteria called Chlamydia Trachomatis. Women can get infections in the cervix (inside the vagina), rectum or throat while men can get chlamydia in the urethra (inside the penis) , rectum or throat.

How do you get it

Chlamydia can be spread through oral, vaginal or anal sex with someone whois infected, even if a condom was used. Unlike some illnesses, there is no immunity to chlamydia after being treated, so it’s possible to get it multiple times.

Chlamydia is most common among young, sexually active people. The likelihood of getting it is increased if you have many partners and/or don’t consistently use a condom. It’s also possible to be transmitted from mother to child during birth

What are the symptoms

Statistically, 75% of women and 50% of men who have Chlamydia are asymptomatic (have no symptoms). The symptoms can take a few weeks to show after the exposure, if they appear at all. The symptoms are also different depending on the site of infection, and are listed below:

Oral Chlamydia symptoms:

  1. Sore throat

  2. Low fever

  3. Sores in the mouth

  4. Lesions (like cold sores) inside the mouth

  5. Tonsillitis

  6. Redness with white spots

  7. Scratchy, dry throat

Cervical chlamydia symptoms

  1. Vaginal discharge with abnormal colour, consistency or smell

  2. A burning sensation when urinating

  3. Painful intercourse

Urethral (male) chlamydia symptoms

  1. Penile discharge

  2. Burning sensation when peeing

  3. Painful swelling in one or both testicles


Chlamydia is diagnosed through a lab test, which requires a urine sample and a swab sample of any areas which may have been exposed to infection (eg; oral, vaginal, rectal)

Anyone with symptoms is strongly recommended to get tested for Chlamydia. Other than that, newly pregnant women and sexually active adults with new or multiple partners should get tested annually.


Treatment for Chlamydia is quite simple; either a single high dose or a seven day course of antibiotics can be used to cure the infection. However, if left untreated chlamydia can develop several complications, including: infertility, pelvic inflammatory disease (in women), open genital sores, rashes, proctitis (inflammation of the rectum) and reactive arthritis. Untreated chlamydia also makes it between 3-50 times more likely to get HIV/AIDS, depending on other risk factors.

After completing the treatment, it’s important to wait a minimum of 1 week to ensure that the antibiotic has time to properly eradicate the infection.

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