Navigating Chlamydia: Insights into Detection and Protection

What is Chlamydia?

Chlamydia is a common STI that can occur in anyone who’s sexually active and is caused by the bacteria Chlamydia trachomatis. It is a preventable and curable infection. People may have chlamydia without knowing it. The symptoms might be similar to gonorrhea infection.


How do I know?

Chlamydia often goes unnoticed and causes inflammation of the urinary tract or rectum. It also occurs in the mouth and throat. If symptoms appear, they mostly appear after 1-3 weeks of exposure. Typical signs are pus-like discharge from vagina/penis/anus/rectum, pain when peeing and an itching feeling in the urethra. If left untreated, it can lead to inflammation in pelvic organs like uterus, epididymis, testes and possibly lead to infertility. Chlamydia is detected by swabs taken from the throat, urethra, genitals, anus or by means of a urine sample. 


How do we get infected? And how do I protect myself?

Chlamydia is mostly transmitted through unprotected oral (giving head)/vaginal/anal sex with someone who has the infection. Transmission can also occur with sharing sex toys but not through kissing. It can also spread to babies from mothers during childbirth. People can get reinfected after treatment if there is exposure again. Chlamydia can be detected in the mucous membranes of the urinary tract, throat and rectum, in cum as well as in small amounts in urine and precum. 

You can protect yourself from chlamydia effectively by using condoms. 


How is it treated? 

Chlamydia is treated and is curable with a course of antibiotics (given either as a single dose or a week long oral medications). And one is asked to refrain from sex until 7 days after completing the treatment and the symptoms are resolved. 

Good to know!

LGV (Lymphogranuloma venereum) is a special and uncommon type of Chlamydia infection caused by different serotypes of the same bacteria Chlamydia trachomatis (serovars L1, L2, or L3). It can present with inflamed and swollen lymph nodes in the thigh region, complicated inflammation in the anal region which might result in long-term challenges, if untreated. In the event of a chlamydia infection, it’s recommended to suspect or undergo LGV testing. And if this infection is likely, your treatment will be adjusted.


Check out more content on STIs like Syphilis, Gonorrhea, Hepatitis A/B, Hepatitis C, Herpes, HPV, Genital Warts, Crabs, Scabies, Fungi.

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About the Author: Raju Behara (she/they), a trans-disabled Peer Support Provider with a decade of healthcare experience, holds a Masters in Pharmacology and a PG Diploma in Health Economics, Health Policy at the Indian Institute of Public Health. Aligned with the Safe Access Community Wellbeing Project, Raju has contributed to LGBTQIA+ safety in Indian workplaces, drafting gender-neutral dress codes and working on sensitization. A published author and poet in various anthologies, Raju, through EQUAL fellowship, chronicled social histories of housing, healthcare and workplace discrimination for queer-trans individuals in India. They initiated ‘Queer & Quarantine’, a crisis intervention program for trans folks facing housing challenges.

Article Vetted by: Dr. Swathi SB


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