Be Safe.

Chlamydia

{kluh-mid-ee-uh}

Also Known as:

The Clam

The Gooey Stuff

Dick Sludge

How do I get it?

Chlamydia is a bacterial infection spread from person to person through condomless sexual contact (oral, vaginal or anal).

It can also be passed to a newborn during delivery.

Most commonly, Chlamydia can infect people’s urethras and it can also infect the cervix. It can also spread to the reproductive organs causing serious complications.

Symptoms

As is the case with many STIs, symptoms aren’t always apparent. In fact, up to 90% of people who have chlamydia don’t show symptoms at all. If symptoms do flare up, they could include some of the following:

FEMALE

  • Irregular or increased vaginal discharge
  • Irregular bleeding, especially after sex or between periods
  • Abdominal pain
  • Pain during sex
  • Burning when you pee
  • Discharge, bleeding, or itching from the bum / anus
  • Throat infection – usually no symptoms but may cause a sore throat.
  • Redness or discharge from one or both eyes

MALE

  • Watery or milky discharge from the tip of the penis (urethra a.k.a. the pee hole)
  • Irritation or itching inside the penis
  • Burning when you pee
  • Discharge, bleeding, or itching from the bum / anus
  • Throat infection – usually no symptoms but may cause a sore throat.
  • Redness or discharge from one or both eyes

 

Is it curable?

Yes.

If infected, you and your partner(s) need to be tested and treated even if there are no symptoms. You can get re-infected if you have condomless sex with a partner before that partner is treated and for seven days after finishing the treatment.

Treatment is recommended for those who have positive chlamydia tests, partners of those who have been infected within the last 60 days—even if they do not have symptoms — and newborns of women who have chlamydia at the time of delivery.

If you have chlamydia, it is a reportable infection under the Public Health Act in Alberta. That means information is shared with the Provincial STI Services program. With that in mind, it’s important for you to know that your personal information is kept confidential. A local health unit may contact you about telling your sex partner or partners that they may need testing and treatment.

How is it treated?

Chlamydia is treated with antibiotics. But it’s not like chicken pox. Just because you’ve had it once doesn’t mean you won’t get it again.

What can happen if I go untreated?

If left untreated, Chlamydia can lead to other health issues, including the following:

FEMALE:

  • Pelvic Inflammatory Disease
  • Increased risk for tubal pregnancies—When an egg is fertilized outside the uterus.  There is no saving a tubal pregnancy.
  • Infertility
  • Arthritis

MALE:

  • Epididymo-orchitis (your balls will hurt and they might swell up)
  • Urinary tract problems
  • Infertility
  • Arthritis

All serious long-term problems can be prevented with early treatment.

When can I have sex again?

It takes one week for the antibiotics to rid the body of chlamydia. With that in mind, don’t have sex (oral, vaginal, anal) without a condom for seven days after you and your partner(s) have been treated. The best protection is avoiding sex for 7 days after finishing your treatment.

How to prevent Chlamydia

  • When you are sexually active, the best way to prevent Chlamydia is to use condoms for oral, vaginal, and anal sex.
  • Limit the number of sex partners you have.
  • Open and honest communication with your partner.
  • Engage in lower risk forms of sexual activity or sexual simulation such as mutual masturbation or sensual massage.
  • Don’t have any sexual contact if you or your partner(s) have any symptoms or an STI or may have been exposed to an STI. See a doctor or go to an STI Clinic for testing.
  • Don’t share sex toys, clean between use, and cover with a new condom before each use.
  • Get STI testing every 3 to 6 months and when you have symptoms.

Other resources

What to expect when
getting tested

Get comfortable with the process.

  • What to bring
    to your
    appointment
  • What will
    you be
    asked?
  • What the
    tests
    involve

What to bring
to your
appointment

Your name and contact details and questions about your sexual history.

  • A form of ID (driver's license, passport)
  • Your health care card

What will
you be
asked?

Questions about your recent sexual history.

When you last had sex, whether it was unprotected, what kind of symptoms you have...

What the
tests
involve

A few different potential tests involve procedures that aren’t a huge deal.

Pelvic exams, swab tests, blood tests and or urine tests

Close
go nowgo now