Chlamydia is one of the most common sexually transmitted diseases (STD) that affects both men and women.  You can contract it through unprotected vaginal, oral, or anal sex with someone who is infected.  If it’s left untreated, chlamydia can cause major health complications.

If left untreated, a woman can experience pelvic inflammatory disease (PID), which is when chlamydia spreads to a woman’s uterus and fallopian tubes.  This can cause permanent damage to a woman’s reproductive system, which can lead to long-term pelvic pain, infertility, and ectopic pregnancies.

If left untreated, men can experience impotence or erectile dysfunction.  Although it is uncommon, it is possible for chlamydia to spread to a man’s testicles and cause extreme discomfort.

You can contract chlamydia by having sex with someone who is infected. This includes:

  • Oral Sex
  • Vaginal Sex
  • Anal Sex

This means that you depending on the type of sex you have, it is possible for you to have chlamydia in one or multiple places.  This includes your throat, vagina or penis, and rectum.

Often times, both men and women won’t show any signs or symptoms and can pass it onto their partner(s) without knowing it.  Pregnant women can also pass it onto their baby during delivery, which can also cause harm to the baby’s health.

Both sexually active men and women are at risk for contracting chlamydia. However, some groups are people are at a higher risk of contracting chlamydia, such as:

  • Young adults
  • Men who have sex with men
  • Individuals who have a new sexual partner or partners
  • Individuals who have multiple sexual partners
  • Individuals whose sexual partner(s) have an STD

Chlamydia can also increase a person’s risk of contracting another STD known as HIV.

It is common for both men and women to not show any signs or symptoms.

If a woman does have symptoms, she might experience any or none of the following:

  • Dysuria – a burning sensation while urinating
  • Abnormal vaginal discharge

Men might experience:

  • Discharge
  • Dysuria – a burning sensation while urinating
  • Pain, swelling, or sensitivity in one or both testicles

You can also contract chlamydia through anal sex and can therefore be infected in your rectum.  Signs and symptoms might include:

  • Pain, swelling or sensitivity
  • Discharge
  • Bleeding

The only way to know you have chlamydia is to get tested.  If you are experiencing any of these signs or symptoms, it is important to see a health provider immediately.


The only guaranteed way to prevent contracting chlamydia is to not have oral, vaginal, or anal sex.  However, if you are sexually active, there are a couple of different ways you can reduce your risk of contracting chlamydia:

  • Practice safe sex by using condoms.
  • Have sex with your partner(s) after you’ve both been tested and both have negative test results.

Get tested regularly.  It is recommended that if you are sexually active, you should get tested AT LEAST once a year.

For more information and educational resources, click here.


The only guaranteed way to know you have chlamydia is to get tested.  Testing is fast and easy.  Most times, health providers will either ask you for a urine sample or for a swab sample.  To find testing options near you, click here.


Chlamydia is preventable and curable.  Treatment can vary so it is important that you talk to your health provider and follow their instructions carefully.  If you don’t properly take your medication, your chlamydia infection will not be cured.

Once you receive your treatment, you should wait a full week before having any kind of sex (oral, vaginal, anal) again – even if it’s protected sex!