What is Chlamydia?
Chlamydia is a serious bacterial infection caused by unprotected oral, vaginal, or anal sex with a person who has the infection. Chlamydia is the most commonly reported Sexually Transmitted Infection (STI) in Ontario. The symptoms, like the "H" in chlamydia, can be silent. Even though you may feel perfectly fine, you could still unknowingly pass on an STI to someone else during unprotected sex.
Most common symptoms (when noticeable)
- For women: Abnormal vaginal discharge or bleeding; lowers abdominal pain; painful urination
- For men: Urethral itching or discharge; painful urination
- Rectal pain
How does it spread?
- Direct, usually sexual contact with an infected person
- Pregnant women can pass the infection to their baby during birth
- For women, untreated Chlamydia can damage fallopian tubes, which may prevent pregnancy or increase the risk of miscarriage.
- For men, untreated Chlamydia may cause sterility, testicular swelling and pain.
- Men and women with Chlamydia are at greater risk of acquiring Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV).
- Abstain from sexual contact
- Protect yourself with condoms
- Reduce your number of sex partners
Chlamydia can be treated with antibiotics. You will know it is cured when signs and symptoms disappear and there is no re-exposure to an untreated partner. The treatment with antibiotics is usually successful, but it is important for you to return for rescreening in 6 months (to make sure the infection has been cured) or sooner if symptoms develop again.
It is important to inform all people you have had sex with in the past two months because they may have the infection and not know they need treatment. It is important to inform your partner that having no symptoms does not mean that they are not infected. Public health nurses can help you contact your partners confidentially.
You can restart sexual activity only after you and your sex partner(s) have finished treatment and waited seven days.
For questions, free condoms or to make an appointment for testing, call 519-539-4431, or 1-800-922-0096, ext. 3490. Clinics available in Tillsonburg and Woodstock.