• Chlamydia

    Photomicrograph of McCoy cell monolayers with Chlamydia trachomatis inclusion bodies; Magnified 200X.Chlamydia is the most frequently reported bacterial STD in the United States. More than 650,000 cases were reported in 1999, and three of every four reported cases occurred in persons under age 25. Underreporting is substantial because most people with chlamydia are not aware of their infections and therefore do not seek testing. An estimated 3 million Americans become infected with chlamydia each year. The disease is so common in young women that, by age 30, 50 percent of sexually active women show evidence that they have had chlamydia at some point during their lives.

    Chlamydia is known as a "silent" disease because three-quarters of infected women and half of infected men have no symptoms. As a result, the infection is frequently not diagnosed or treated until complications develop. Symptoms in men may include burning upon urination and penile discharge, while women may experience an abnormal vaginal discharge, lower abdominal or back pain, nausea, fever, pain during intercourse, and bleeding between menstrual periods. If chlamydia symptoms do occur, they usually appear within one to three weeks of exposure.

    If women are not treated, the infection can spread into the uterus or fallopian tubes and cause an infection called pelvic inflammatory disease (PID). PID affects as many as 40 percent of women with untreated chlamydia. PID can cause permanent and irreversible damage to the fallopian tubes, uterus and tissues surrounding the ovaries, leading to chronic pelvic pain, infertility and potentially fatal ectopic pregnancy (pregnancy outside the uterus).

    Chlamydia can be easily treated and cured with antibiotics. A single dose of azithromycin or a week of doxycycline (twice daily) are the most commonly used treatments. All sex partners must also be treated, even if they have no symptoms.

    Chlamydia Fact Sheet (CDC)
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