STI Info: Chlamydia
Chlamydia, also known as "The Clam" and "Gooey Stuff", is a bacterial infection caused by Chlamydia Trachomatis. It is known as the "Silent" STI due to its lack of symptoms in most individuals who are infected. Chlamydia can do serious irreversible damage including infertility in women and sterility in men.
Chlamydia is known as the "silent" STI because of the lack of symptoms. According to the Center for Disease Control, 75 % of women and 50% of men with chlamydia never show any symptoms of the infection. If symptoms do occur, they usually appear between 1 and 3 weeks after exposure to the infection. Symptoms of chlamydia in women include:
- Abdominal vaginal discharge
- Burning with urination
- Lower abdominal pain
- Low back pain
- Pain during intercourse
- Bleeding between menstrual periods
Symptoms in men include:
- Penal discharge
- Burning with urination
- Burning and/or itching at the opening of the penis
- Pain and swelling of the testicles (uncommon)
According to the Center for Disease Control, chlamydia is the most frequently reported bacterial sexually transmitted disease in the United States. In 2004, 929,462 chlamydial infections were reported to CDC from 50 states and the District of Columbia. An estimated 2.8 million Americans are infected with chlamydia each year, yet are not tested because they do not show any signs or symptoms. Women are frequently re-infected if their sex partners are not treated.
Chlamydia is transmitted through sexual activity including vaginal, anal, and oral sex. In addition, it can be passed from a mother to a child during birth. Due to the fact that teenage girls and young women do not have a fully developed cervix, they are more susceptible to the bacterial infection then men or older women.
Chlamydia can be diagnosed through a urine sample or through a specimen sample from the cervix or penis. Healthcare professionals analyze the specimens for bacteria to determine whether an individual has the bacterial infection.
Local testing available at:
- Eastern Illinois University Health Service: Swab Test Only Available for Men $30
- Phone: (217) 581-3013
- Coles County Health Department: Urine Sample for Men - $15 - Swab Test for
Women - $25
- 825 18th Street, Charleston, IL 61920
- Phone: (217) 348-0530 Fax: (217) 348-5322
- Champaign-Urbana Public Health Department: Swab Test for Men and
Women - Free with suggested $20 donation
- 710 N Neil Street, Champaign, IL 61820
- Phone: (217) 352-7961
Chlamydia can be treated through a single does of Azithromycin antibiotics. Most commonly used is a week long treatment of Doxycycline antibiotics. Although chlamydia can be cured, it is important to have your partner tested and treated as well to avoid re-infection.
The only 100% effective way to prevent sexually transmitted infections such as chlamydia is to abstain from sexual activity where there is a transmission of bodily fluids such as oral, anal, and vaginal sex. If you choose to be sexually active, being in a monogamous relationship with a partner who is not infected significantly reduces your risk of infection. In addition, reducing your number of sexual partners can help to reduce your risk. Latex condoms, when used consistently and correctly, may reduce the risk of a chlamydia infection. Annual screening is recommended for women over the age of 25.