Chlamydia (commonly misspelled as clamydia or chlamidia) is a common and curable sexually transmitted disease (STD) that is caused by the bacteria Chlamydia trachomatis. The bacteria that cause chlamydia infection are transmitted during vaginal, anal, and sometimes oral sex. Chlamydia most commonly affects the genital tract because the bacteria target the cells of the mucous membranes, which are the soft, moist tissues of the body not covered by skin, such as the urethra and anus.
Sexually active men and women of any age can get chlamydia, but it is most prevalent among U.S. teenagers. Even though chlamydia is the most common bacterial sexually transmitted disease in the United States, many people with chlamydia do not know they have the disease because it often times does not have any symptoms. That is why, even if symptoms are not present, annual screening of sexually active adolescents and sexually active women between the ages of 20-25 is recommended, as is screening of anyone with other risk factors.
It is important to be diagnosed and treated for chlamydia because it can cause serious complications such as pelvic inflammatory disease and infertility. All pregnant women should be screened for chlamydia during the first prenatal exam, and women should be screened again later during the pregnancy if they have a high risk of infection.
If a patient tests positive for chlamydia it is important that the patient's current and past sexual partners be tested and treated as well to prevent further spread of the disease.
An estimated 3 million people in the United States are infected with chlamydia every year.
Any sexually active person is at risk for contracting chlamydia. Sexually active adolescents and young adults are particularly at high risk with as many as 1 in 10 adolescent females testing positive for chlamydia.
Risk factors for chlamydia include:
Having multiple sexual partners
Having a partner with a past history of STDs
Having unprotected oral or genital sex (without a condom)
Vaginal delivery of a newborn by an infected mother may also transmit chlamydia.
Chlamydia cannot be transmitted through casual contact, such as shaking hands or using the same toilet seat as someone who is infected.
Because many people do not experience symptoms, they are unaware that they have chlamydia and can spread it to others. Therefore, it is important to always use a latex condom during any sexual contact.
Common misspellings of chlamydia include, chlamyadia, clamydia, clamidia, clymidia, chlymidia, chlamidia, or clymidea.