You may have heard of chlamydia, but many people are not sure what it is. It is an infection caused by the bacterium Chlamydia trachomatis. Chlamydia spreads quickly but can be cured easily with a single dose of antibiotics. It is passed on through unprotected vaginal, anal and/or oral sex and it affects both men and women.
Although chlamydia is associated with the genitals, it can also affect the eyes and throat. Left untreated it can cause serious long-term damage to your health, sometimes even permanently. If you are a woman, untreated chlamydia can make it difficult or sometimes even impossible to become pregnant. If you are a man it might be the cause of pain but rarely can it prevent you from being able to father children. This is why it is important to get tested and treated as soon as possible if you think you might have chlamydia.
Lack of symptoms makes chlamydia particularly difficult to identify. Sometimes it is called the "silent epidemic" as it causes so much damage in so many people without showing any symptoms. That's why you should get tested if you had unprotected sex. It is more common with people under the age of 25, especially those with multiple partners.
Last updated August 15, 2016