What the heck is it anyway?
Chlamydia is an STI that can infect both guys and girls – and it’s one of the most common STIs in young people. It infects an estimated 3 million people in the U.S. each year, and is primarily transmitted during unprotected vaginal or anal sex.
Chlamydia is caused by a bacterium (chlamydia trachomatis, to be exact) – and it can be pretty unpleasant if it shows symptoms. Lots of people don’t have any symptoms at all, though.
Chlamydia is easy for a doctor to clear up with antibiotics – and it’s important to get treated. If you get chlamydia and don’t get it treated, it can cause long-term problems like infertility.
Like many STIs, chlamydia isn’t the most obvious infection in the world. Only about 25% of girls and 50% of guys who have it ever show symptoms.
Symptoms of chlamydia can include:
- Pain or burning sensation during urination
- Pus or discharge from the penis or vagina (as applicable)
- Pain during sex
If left untreated, chlamydia can also lead to infertility and more serious infections in your reproductive organs. The good news is, after you’ve been tested and diagnosed, chlamydia is curable with a simple antibiotic that you can get from your doctor.
You can cut down on your chances of getting chlamydia by using condoms consistently and correctly. But if you become infected, diagnosed and are still having sex, it’s super important to let your partner know; he or she is at risk too. It’s not an easy conversation, for sure. But when you have hard, honest conversations like this with your partner, you’re making huge steps to build trust with each other. (And let’s be real, having sex with someone you trust is the best.)
Since Chlamydia is so common in teens, it’s a good idea for to get tested regularly if you’re sexually active. You can ask for the test or your doctor may offer it to you. There are several reliable, simple tests for chlamydia, ranging from urine samples to swab tests.
In North Carolina, you have the right to get confidential STI tests and treatment without a parent’s permission. Want to get tested, but not sure where to start? Use this nifty search tool to find a testing site near you.