Chlamydia is the most commonly reported sexually transmitted bacterial infection in Minnesota and the United States. It is caused by Chlamydia trachomatis, a bacterium that can infect the penis, vagina, cervix, anus, and urethra. It can also infect the eyes or lungs of children at the time of birth. Chlamydia is curable with antibiotics.

Signs and Symptoms

  • Most people have no symptoms
  • Develop 7-21 days after exposure, or not at all

For women:

  • Abnormal vaginal bleeding or discharge
  • Burning or pain during urination
  • Pain in lower abdomen
  • Anal discomfort

For men:

  • Watery or thin white discharge from penis
  • Burning or pain during urination
  • Anal discomfort


Chlamydia is spread by:

  • Vaginal sex
  • Oral sex
  • Anal sex
  • Infected mother to newborn


If left untreated, chlamydia can:

  • Spread to sex partners
  • Lead to ectopic (tubal) pregnancy
  • Lead to pelvic inflammatory disease
  • Lead to infertility in men and women
  • Make it easier to transmit or acquire HIV during sex

During pregnancy, chlamydia infection:

  • Can be passed to newborn during childbirth and cause serious eye infection or pneumonia
  • Can lead to premature delivery and low birth weight


  • Avoiding vaginal, oral or anal sex is the best way to prevent STDs.
  • Latex condoms, when used consistently and correctly, can reduce the risk of transmission of chlamydia.
  • Always use latex condoms during vaginal and anal sex.
  • Use a latex condom for oral sex on a penis.
  • Use a latex barrier (dental dam or condom cut in half) for oral sex on a vagina or anus.
  • Limit the number of sex partners.
  • Notify sex partners immediately if infected.
  • Make sure partners are tested and treated at the same time to prevent re-infection.

Testing and Treatment

  • Get a test from a medical provider if infection is suspected.
  • Chlamydia can be cured using medication prescribed by a medical provider.
  • Partners should be treated at the same time.

NOTE: A person can be re-infected after treatment.

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