Chlamydia, which is caused by the bacteria Chlamydia trachomatis, targets the cells of the mucous membranes including the surfaces of the urethra, as well as the anus and rectum. Although possible, it rarely targets the mouth or throat.

How is it spread?

Chlamydia is transmitted through semen, precum and vaginal secretions during unprotected anal and oral sex with an infected person. Chlamydia is easily transmitted through engaging in anal, vaginal or oral sex. It can also be transmitted by touching an infected area with your own genitals or anus. Someone with no symptoms can still transmit it. Chlamydia is not transmitted through such casual contact as hugging, shaking hands, sharing food, using the same eating utensils, drinking from the same glass, sitting on public toilets, or touching door knobs.

What are the symptoms?

  • Discharge from the genitals, which may be yellow or white, watery or thickĀ (see picture)
  • Need to urinate (pee) more often
  • Thick yellow or white drip from the genitals
  • Burning or pain when you urinate (pee) or have a bowel movement
  • Or a person may not experience any symptoms
Male penis with chlamydia infection.

Male penis with chlamydia infection. Note the watery discharge.

How is it treated?

A healthcare provider may prescribe a single-dose antibiotic, such as azithromycin (Zithromax), taken as a pill. On the other hand, the healthcare provider may choose an antibiotic, such as doxycycline (Atridox, Bio-Tab), to be taken as a pill twice a day for a week. Up to 95% of people will be cured after one course of antibiotics.

How can an infection be prevented?

Abstinence is the only 100% effective way of preventing chlamydia, however if you choose to engage in sexual activities and are unsure if you or your partner is possibly infected, consistent and correct use of condoms can effectively help reduce the risk of transmission.

If you think that you or someone you know may have been infected with chlamydia click here for testing sites. If you’re sexually active, sign-up for free STD testing reminders via email, text or both atĀ If We All Test, we can help eliminate syphilis and other STDs in our community.