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What's Chlamydia?
Dec 3, 1997

Mr. Sowadsky:

What's Chlamydia and how do you get it?, do you experience ARS? what test do you have to take to diagnose it? Any particular symptoms?

THANKS!

Response from Mr. Sowadsky

Hi. Thank you for your question. Chlamydia is a very common STD (much more common than HIV/AIDS). It is a bacterial infection that is primarily spread through vaginal intercourse. Symptoms in men can include a burning sensation when he pees (urinates), and a discharge from the penis. In women, there could be a burning sensation when she pee's (urinates), an unusual vaginal discharge, an abnormally heavy period, or abdominal pain. Left untreated, in women, Chlamydia can cause Pelvic Inflammatory Disease (PID), a very serious complication. In both men and women, left untreated, Chlamydia can cause infertility (inability to have a child). In both men and women, it is possible to have the infection, and have no symptoms at all. Therefore, just because a person has no symptoms, does not necessarily mean they are not infected. Flu-like symptoms are normally not associated with Chlamydia.

Only a doctor can diagnose Chlamydia (through laboratory tests). Laboratory testing is especially important, since the symptoms of Chlamydia (if there are any at all) closely resemble those of other STDs (like Gonorrhea), and those of other types of infections (like urinary tract infections). These tests usually involve a swab test taken from the urethra of the penis in men (not a pleasant experience!), or from the cervix in women. Chlamydia is curable with certain types of antibiotics. There is no immunity against Chlamydia. Therefore, a person can get this infection again and again, if they get re-exposed to this infection.

If a person gets Chlamydia, this indicates that they were not adequately protecting themselves against STDs. If you get one STD, you may be infected with others as well (including HIV, Hepatitis B, Gonorrhea, Herpes, Syphilis, Genital Warts, etc.). Therefore if you get one STD, it is important to be tested for other STDs also. In fact, getting STDs like Chlamydia, Gonorrhea, Herpes, and Syphilis can increase a persons susceptibility to HIV (since these may allow HIV to have an easier access to the bloodstream).

If you have any further questions, please feel free to call the Centers for Disease Control at 1.800.232.4636 (Nationwide).



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