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Chlamydia

Chlamydia is a sexually transmitted disease caused by a bacteria. It especially affects people aged 15 to 24 years old. Most of those infected do not have any symptoms. Many young people get infected without knowing it and are thus at risk of transmitting the infection to their partners.

Transmission

Chlamydia is transmitted through unprotected sexual relations with an infected person (with or without symptoms). It can be transmitted through: 

  • Oral sex (particularly through fellatio, and less frequently through cunnilingus and anilingus)
  • Vaginal penetration (penis penetrating the vagina)
  • Anal penetration (penis penetrating the anus)
  • Sharing sex toys

A mother may also transmit the infection to their baby during labour.

It is possible to get infected more than once during one’s lifetime.

Symptoms

In most cases, chlamydia does not provoke any symptoms. As a result, you may transmit it without knowing you are infected. 

Symptoms may appear several weeks after sexual contact with an infected person. 

According to the Public Health Agency of Canada, an infected person with symptoms may observe the following signs:

symptoms may appear 5 to 10 days after sexual contact with an infected person. These symptoms can be intermittent, meaning they can appear, disappear, and then reappear.

Symptoms in people with a vagina:    

  • A change or increase in vaginal discharge
  • Vaginal itchiness
  • Bleeding between menstruations
  • Pain or bleeding during or after vaginal sexual relations
  • Pain in the lower abdomen
  • A burning sensation when urinating 

Symptoms in people with a penis: 

  • A burning sensation when urinating
  • Discharge from the penis
  • A burning or itching feeling in the penis’s urinary meatus (the orifice through which you urinate)
  • Testicular pain

Other symptoms may also be observed depending on the infected body part (mouth, penis, vagina, anus, eyes). If in doubt, you can contact Info-Santé (811) or get tested. 

🔍Testing and Treatment

Testing is done during a medical examination. Chlamydia can be detected through a urine sample or a sample taken from the throat, penis, cervix, or anus.

Chlamydia is treated with doctor-prescribed antibiotics 💊.


👉 Important:
You must take the antibiotics as prescribed until the very last pill, even if the symptoms have disappeared. You must also avoid having unprotected sexual relations during the treatment. You can get infected with chlamydia again, even if you have been treated for it.

Prevention

In order to avoid transmitting or catching chlamydia, use a condom during fellatio as well as vaginal and anal penetration, and use a dental dam when practising cunnilingus or anilingus. Also avoid sharing sex toys. Finally, ask your sexual partners if they have recently been tested. 

If you have contracted chlamydia, you should inform your partners in order that they get tested and avoid transmitting it to others. Find out how to talk about it here.

Sources: Public Health Agency of Canada; The Society of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists of Canada; CATIE