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What is it?


Chlamydia is fairly easy to get and to give to someone. It happens by intimate genital contact, through insertive or receptive vaginal sex. Also, intimate skin contact such as dry humping, and any genital-to-genital contact, even without penetration, can transmit the Chlamydia organism. Secondary contact can transmit the disease as well. For example, fondling, foreplay, and petting will all transmit Chlamydia. It's best to ask your partner if they currently have a Chlamydia infection. Sometimes, however, Chlamydia can infect you without making you sick -- a person can have it and look totally healthy. Secondary contact is how some people autoinoculate themselves--that is, they spread it to other parts of their body just by touching an infected area and then touching their eye. Chlamydia will then infect the eye. In some countries (but not the United States), there are so many people infected that flies can transmit the disease by landing on an infected person's eye and then spreading the organism to uninfected hosts.

What to look for?


Chlamydia can grow in the male and female urethra, as well as the eye. In women, it can also grow deep inside the pelvis. These are the only locations where it grows. In both men and women, the symptoms of a Chlamydia infection can range from no visible signs to a small, clear discharge from the urethra. Redness and irritation of the affected area is common. Without signs of an infection, it is easy to not be careful and to pass the disease on to other people. In the eye, Chlamyda can cause redness and irritation. In the worst cases, it can cause a strong reaction where the lining of the eye becomes hugely swollen and red, as in the picture above. An infection lasts for months to years if not treated.



Chlamydia is easily treated with various antibiotics. Some people who have had a LOT of Chlamydia infections don't ever get it again. There is no latency with Chlamydia, so a person who is cured doesn't have to worry about the infection coming back (as with Herpes). That is, unless you get it again, of course. However, after an infection, the area of the urethra or eye that was infected can become scarred, producing some long-lasting irritation. Contact your health provider as soon as you think you may have gotten an STD; the sooner you are treated, the better your chances of recovery, and it is less likely you will get complications. Also, have your partners checked out, and stop having sex until you get better. Otherwise, you and your partners could keep passing the disease back and forth to each other.

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This information is here courtesy of The STD Home Page.