What is Chlamydia?
Sexually transmitted infections (STIs) are common infections that anyone can contract when they become sexually active and especially if they don't use a condom.
Chlamydia is a common STI that can affect sexually active females and males. However, females are most affected by chlamydia. Chlamydia is caused by a type of bacteria called Chlamydia trachomatis. It is passed on during vaginal, oral or anal sex.
Like many STIs, you might not know that you have it. Many people might have Chlamydia without being aware of it, that's why it's often called the 'silent disease'. However, there are some symptoms that you could look out for that could indicate that you have Chlamydia.
What are the symptoms of Chlamydia?
Most people who have Chlamydia will show mild symptoms or won't show any symptoms at all. This is why it's important to get an STI screening at least once a year by a healthcare worker at your local clinic.
Even though they might be mild, symptoms usually appear after 1 to 3 weeks. Common symptoms are:
- Discharge from the vagina or penis
- Painful or burning sensation during urination
- Pain in your lower abdomen (womb area)
- Pain during sex
- Bleeding between periods (E.g. before or after periods)
- Conjunctivitis - eye infection. This might be caused by bodily fluids getting into the eye.
- In some cases Chlamydia can cause muscle tension, fever and headaches
- Pain and swelling in the testicles (boys)
- Burning and itching around the penis (boys)
How do you treat Chlamydia?
Chlamydia can be treated with antibiotics. A doctor will normally check for chlamydia by testing your urine. With proper treatment, symptoms should be resolved in about a week. Avoid having sex until you have been treated. If both you and your partner have Chlamydia but only you get treatment, there is a chance that having unprotected sex with this partner will get you reinfected. It's important that you and your partner are tested and treated.
How do you prevent Chlamydia?
To prevent Chlamydia, make sure that you use a condom every time you have sex. Use a condom during vaginal, anal and oral sex. Limit the number of sexual partners you have because the more people you are exposed to sexually, the higher your risk. To be sure that you or your partner are not infected, you should both get an STI screening. If either of you has Chlamydia, then you should both be treated.
Who is at risk?
Anyone can get Chlamydia, even babies from their mothers during childbirth. However, girls are at higher risk of becoming infected. People who have multiple sexual partners are also more at risk than those who have one sex partner. If left untreated, Chlamydia can cause serious health problems chomas. So if you think that you're at risk or that you might have Chlamydia chomas, make sure that you get an STI screening. Consult your local clinic or doctor with your partner.
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