Chlamydia is a common sexually transmitted infection (STI) and is caused by the bacterium Chlamydia trachomatis. This bacterium lives exclusively inside human cells. Chlamydia is a genital infection, and an eye disease. Chlamydia infection is a most common sexually transmitted disease around the world. An estimated 2.8 million per annum of new infections are reported in the United Sates alone.
Transmission occurs during vaginal, anal, or oral sex. The infection can also be passed from an infected mother to her baby during childbirth.
SYMPTOMS IN WOMEN
Between one-half to three-quarter of infected women are asymptomatic, and therefore unlikely to seek medical treatment. Untreated Chlamydia infections in women increase the risk of developing cervictitis, infections to uterus, to the fallopian tubes, and to the ovaries.
Allowing spreading of untreated Chlamydia into the upper genital tract, might cause pelvic inflammatory disease (PID). Symptoms may include vaginal bleeding, unusual vaginal discharge, abdominal pain, painful intercourse, dyspareunia, fever, painful urination, or frequent urges to urinate.
SYMPTOMS IN MEN
Men, who are infected with Chlamydia trachomatis, are at risk to developing infections of the urethra, called urethritis. Urethritis is usually symptomatic with white discharge from the penis and with, or without, painful urination, called dysuria. If Chlamydia infections in men are left untreated for more than 6-8 weeks, men might develop epididymis and consequential sterility.
Untreated Chlamydia infections can cause serious short-term or long-term consequences to reproductive health, and other health issues, in both sexes.
The World Health Organisation (WHO) estimates Chlamydia being a major cause of blindness around the world, with figures dropping from 15% in 1995 to about 3.6 % in 2002.
Rheumatological conditions, such as Reiter’s Syndrome, is a triad of arthritis, conjunctivitis, and urethritis and can be caused by untreated Chlamydia infections. It is seen especially in young men, but can affect women as well.
Perinatal infections with the bacteria Chlamydia trachomatis can cause spontaneous abortion, premature birth, infant pneumonia, and conjunctivitis, which may lead to blindness.
See your GP or sexual heath clinic for a checkup in case you had unprotected casual sex. Depending on your diagnosis, your doctor will recommend appropriate treatment with specific antibiotics. Chlamydia is a curable sexual infection.
SEXUAL HEALTH COUNSELLING
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Poll: Sexual Behaviours