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Chlamydia Overview

Chlamydia is a bacterial infection disease transmitted when people have sexual relations. It is the most common sexually transmitted disease (STD) in the United States, with over 2.8 million affected individuals each year. Among adults, about 5% of the population is estimated to be infected. Among sexually active adolescent females, about 10% are infected.

Infection with chlamydia is most commonly found among the following groups:

  • Young adults (24 years and younger)
  • People living in urban areas
  • African Americans
  • Those with lower social and economic status
Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 5/21/2014
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Chlamydia Symptoms

What Are the Symptoms of Chlamydia in men and women?

Chlamydia is known as a "silent" disease because the majority of infected people have no symptoms. If symptoms do occur, they usually appear within 1 to 3 weeks after exposure.

In women, the bacteria initially infect the cervix and the urethra (urine canal). Women who have symptoms might have an abnormal vaginal discharge or a burning sensation when urinating. If the infection spreads from the cervix to the fallopian tubes (tubes that carry fertilized eggs from the ovaries to the uterus), some women still have no signs or symptoms; others have lower abdominal pain, low back pain, nausea, fever, pain during intercourse, or bleeding between menstrual periods. Chlamydial infection of the cervix can spread to the rectum.

Men with signs or symptoms might have a discharge from their penis or a burning sensation when urinating. Men might also have burning and itching around the opening of the penis. Pain and swelling in the testicles are uncommon.

Men or women who have receptive anal intercourse may acquire chlamydial infection in the rectum, which can cause rectal pain, discharge, or bleeding. Chlamydia can also be found in the throats of women and men having oral sex with an infected partner.

SOURCE: Chlamydia - CDC Fact Sheet.

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Chlamydial Genitourinary Infections »

Chlamydiae are small gram-negative obligate intracellular microorganisms that preferentially infect squamocolumnar epithelial cells.

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