What is Chlamydia?

Chlamydia is a sexually transmitted infection, caused by a bacterium (a microscopic organism) that lives as a parasite inside human cells. Approximately 75% of women and 50% of men in Africa, will have no symptoms when they have this infection. If left undiagnosed, it can permanently damage sexual organs, leading to infertility in women and reduced fertility in men. In women, it can infect the cervix and urinary tract, and can cause pelvic inflammatory disease (PID) if it reaches the fallopian tubes. In men, it can also infect the urinary tract, causing swelling and/ or inflammation of the testicles. An untreated Chlamydia infection can be extremely harmful for both men and women, so it is important to get tested regularly.

How is it transmitted?

Chlamydia is normally passed on through unprotected sexual activity with someone who has the infection. The bacteria can thrive in various regions of the body including the penis, vagina, anus and throat, so unprotected contact with any of these areas may lead to you catching this infection.

How will I know if I have it?

As most men and women do not show any early symptoms.  So it is often difficult to tell whether you or your partner is infected. For those people who do get symptoms, these may include:

  • A burning or painful sensation when urinating, for men and women.
  • For women, a discharge or "mucus" coming from the vagina, back pain, unusual pain during sex, and bleeding between periods.
  • For men, a discharge or "mucus" coming out of the penis, inflamed or swollen testicles and/ or discomfort around the tip of the penis.

Testing 

Chlamydia testing at Better2Know is quick, easy and painless. Our comprehensive Chlamydia tests involve a simple swab or urine sample, and can be taken individually or combined with other STI tests.

Treatment

The infection is curable and is treatable with a course of antibiotics.

Adverse Consequences

If a Chlamydia infection is left untreated, it can lead to infertility in women and reduced fertility in men. In pregnant women, it can increase the risk of miscarriage, preterm (early) delivery and potentially fatal tubal (ectopic) pregnancy. If the baby is exposed during delivery, he or she could also suffer from serious eye infections or pneumonia.