What is Chlamydia?
Chlamydia, one of the most common sexually transmitted diseases today, is caused by the bacterium Chlamydia trachomatis. Chlamydia is the most prevalent and commonly reported STD, especially among women. Health officials believe that at least 4 million people are infected with this bacteria.
Data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention indicate that there are approximately 2.86 million cases of chlamydia infection reported annually in the United States. However, a significant number of cases are not reported since most people with chlamydia are asymptomatic hence do not show any symptoms that would prompt medical testing.
The bacteria responsible for chlamydia infection is transmitted from one person to another during unprotected vaginal, anal or oral sex—even when there is no full penetration. Chlamydia trachomatis attacks the mucous membranes it comes in contact with, including inside the vagina, penis, anus, and throat. An infected mother is capable of transmitting chlamydia to her baby during vaginal childbirth, potentially causing severe infection.
Is Chlamydia Curable?
Chlamydia is easily cured through treatment with antibiotics; however, if left untreated it may result in serious health complications such as infertility and susceptibility to other sexually transmitted infections such as HIV. According to CDC, 10 to 15 percent of women with untreated chlamydia contract pelvic inflammatory disease (PID) which can potentially cause infertility. Further, there are 750,000 cases of PID diagnosed annually in the United States.
A person infected with chlamydia is most likely to pass it to their sexual partner; therefore, treatment should be undertaken at the same time to prevent re-infection.