Chlamydia is the most common bacterial STD in the United States. The microorganism Chlamydia trachomatis infects more than 3 million men and women each year. Chlamydia also is one of the most devastating STDs, because it often causes no symptoms and can lead to pelvic inflammatory disease (PID) in women. PID is responsible for up to 15 percent of cases of female infertility.
Among men, chlamydia is one of the leading causes of urethritis (inflammation of the urethra). If you experience pain during urination, burning or itching around the urethra, a discharge from the penis, or swelling in the testicles, you may have chlamydia. About 50 percent of infected men have none of these symptoms and do not get treatment, which puts their sexual partners at considerable risk.
Women are even less likely to have symptoms, but they are more likely to experience long-term consequences. In addition to developing PID, a woman with chlamydia can pass the infection to her baby during childbirth, causing pneumonia or conjunctivitis (inflammation of the membrane that covers the white of the eye and lines the inside of the eyelid).
The good news is that chlamydia is simple to diagnose and treat, thanks to new urine screening tests and antibiotics that can clear up the infection.
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