Chlamydia (chlamydia trachomatis)

What is Chlamydia?

Chlamydia is a sexually transmitted infection caused by bacteria. It is very widespread, particularly among adolescents and young adults.

How do you get Chlamydia?

  • From sexual relations with penetration of the penis in the vagina or anus;
  • From oral sex;
  • When sex toys are shared;
  • An infected mother can transmit the bacteria to her baby during delivery.

What are the symtoms of Chlamydia?

Often, there are no symptoms.

Here are some possible symptoms that may arise 2 to 5 weeks after an incidence of at-risk sexual behaviour:

Women Men
  • new or different vaginal discharge
  • painful burning during urination
  • pain in the lower abdomen, sometimes accompanied by fever and chills
  • pain during intercourse
  • bleeding between periods
  • bleeding after intercourse
  • discharge from the penis, usually clear or milky-white
  • itching around the opening of the penis
  • painful burning during urination
  • painful or swollen testicles

Symptoms may disappear even though the infection is still present.

What are the possible complications of Chlamydia?

If left untreated, Chlamydia can cause infertility in men and women.

How is Chlamydia diagnosed?

A health-care professional may take a urine sample or a mucus sample from a woman’s cervix or a man’s urethra.

Regular testing is important, especially for people who have unprotected sex with multiple partners.

What is the treatment for Chlamydia?

Chlamydia is treated with antibiotics prescribed by a health-care professional. Treatment is free in Quebec for the infected person and his or her partner(s), who must also be treated.

The use of a condom is recommended during the duration of treatment.

How can Chlamydia be prevented?

  • Use a condom at all times with all your partners;
  • Be tested regularly for STBBI; ask your doctor how often you should be tested.

What are the risks for HIV-positive people?

  • Seronegative people infected with Chlamydia are three times more likely to contract HIV from sexual relations.
  • Chlamydia may cause serious inflammation in the area of infection in an HIV-seropositive person.
  • Seropositive people infected with untreated Chlamydia may have a significant increase in their HIV T-cell count, which can increase the risk of transmission of HIV to their partners.

Additional information

Reporting of Chlamydia is compulsory. Public health professionals who diagnose Chlamydia must inform the Public Health Department of their region.

People who have Chlamydia must inform everyone with whom they have had sexual relations during the 6 weeks prior to the appearance of their symptoms. If the person with Chlamydia is asymptomatic, sexual partners from even earlier should also be informed.

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