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Ask Dr. K

What is chlamydia and what are the symptoms?

Chlamydia is a sexually transmitted infection caused by the germ Chlamydia trachomatis. Both men and women can get it. It is spread through sex by vaginal fluids, anal fluids and semen. It can live in the rectum, cervix (vagina), and throat. It can also be passed from mother to baby during childbirth.

Chlamydia infections are treatable with medicine. Symptoms usually appear one to three weeks after sex with a person with chlamydia, although for most people, especially women, there are no symptoms at all. If there are symptoms, they can include genital discharge, pain with sex and pain when peeing. If untreated, chlamydia infection can lead to a serious condition called PID (pelvic inflammatory disease) and sterility in women, and irritation of the testicle in men.

The sexual activities that put you at risk for getting chlamydia are oral, anal or vaginal sex without a condom. For more information about chlamydia, click here.

Routine STD screening by a doctor is very important if you are sexually active. Visit the City Clinic website for more information about services in San Francisco, or call the CDC National Hotline to find a services near you -- 1-800-CDC-INFO (800-232-4636).

To your health,
Dr. K

Last modified on Thursday, November 19, 2009.
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