Chlamydia is a common and easily treated STI caused by bacteria. The infection can occur in the genitals and/or rectum. It usually does not have any symptoms, but left untreated it can potentially lead to infertility.


Chlamydia often shows no symptoms. When symptoms do occur, they can vary.

  • Clear or cloudy discharge from the penis
  • Abdominal pain
  • Itching or burning around the opening of the penis
  • Pain and swelling around the testicles
  • Painful urination
  • An unusual vaginal discharge, possibly with a bad odor
  • Abdominal pain
  • Itching or burning in and around the vagina
  • Bleeding in between periods or more painful periods
  • Painful urination
  • Pain during sex


Chlamydia is treated with antibiotics. You should refrain from sexual intercourse for 7 days once treatment begins. It is important to complete the full course of treatment and for your sexual partner(s) to get tested.

It is common for reinfection by chlamydia to occur.

When to Seek Medical Attention

If you experience any of the above symptoms, consult with your healthcare provider.

However, many people experience no symptoms. If you are sexually active, testing for chlamydia should be included in your regular screenings for STIs.

Chlamydia is diagnosed either with a urine test or by analyzing a sample from the infected area.

Causes & Prevention

Chlamydia passes from person to person during vaginal, oral, or anal sex sexual contact. Penetration and/or ejaculation do not need to occur to spread the infection.

It is also possible for a pregnant woman to transmit chlamydia to her child during delivery.

As with all STIs, the only way to avoid all risk of infection if to abstain from sex (vaginal, anal, and oral) and intimate skin-to-skin contact.

If you are sexually active:

  • Use condoms and/or dental dams consistently every time you have sex (anal, oral, or vaginal)
  • Communicate with your partner(s) about STIs, testing and using condoms and/or dental dams.
  • If using sex toys, follow the instructions on how to clean them properly after each use. If they contain no batteries/electrical wires, wash with soap and water and allow to dry.
HIV & STI Testing and Treatment. Click to Learn More.