icon Click on the icons to view shocking STD photos »


Sexually Transmitted Disease Facts

Type of Infection: Chlamydia is the common name for reproductive tract infections caused by the Chlamydia trachomatis bacteria.

Modes of Transmission for Chlamydia: Chlamydia is transmitted via vaginal, oral, or anal sex.

Symptoms of Chlamydia: Up to 75% of cases in women and 25% of cases in men have no symptoms. Symptoms may include abnormal genital discharge, and burning during urination in both men and women. Vaginal, penile or rectal discharge caused by chlamydia will look like mucus or pus, and be milky white or yellow in color. Women may also experience lower abdominal pain or pain during intercourse, and men may experience swelling or pain in the testicles.

Men or women who have receptive anal intercourse may get the chlamydial infection in the rectum, which can cause rectal pain, discharge, or bleeding. Chlamydia can also be found in the throats of people who have oral sex with an infected partner.

Treatment of Chlamydia: Anyone who suspects they may have chlaamydia should have testing. Chlamydia infection can be cured with antibiotics. However, treatment cannot undo damage done prior to treatment.

Danger! Reiter's syndrome is a disease that causes a form of arthritis, along with inflammation of the urinary tract and eyes. It is triggered by an infection, usually a sexually transmitted disease or by certain gastrointestinal bacteria. The most common cause of Reiter's syndrome is the STD chlamydia. Reiter's syndrome is most common in males between the ages of 20 and 40.

Possible Consequences of Chlamydia for the Infected Person: If untreated in women, up to 30% will experience pelvic inflammatory disease (PID) which often leads to ectopic pregnancy, infertility, and chronic pelvic pain. This STD can aslo cause mucopurulent cervicitis in women — a condition that causes puss and bleeding from the cervix.

In men, if untreated, chlamydia can cause epididymitis, an inflammation of a testicle, which may result in infertility. This STD can also cause nongonococcal urethritis, which causes urinary problems and discharge of puss from the penis.

Both men and women infected with chlamydia are at greater risk of contracting HIV, if exposed to the virus.

Possible Consequences of Chlamydia for the Fetus and Newborn: Premature birth, infant pneumonia (10%), neonatal eye infections (35%), ear infection, and bronchitis may result from transmission of the disease during delivery.

Prevention of Chlamydia: Abstaining from sexual contact with an infected person is the only 100% effective means of prevention. Hormonal contraceptives, such as the pill, vaginal ring, and contraceptive patch, are assosicted with an increased risk of chlamydia. Latex or polyurethane condoms can reduce but not eliminate the risk of contracting chlamydia.

Source: W Cates, "Reproductive Tract Infections," In Hatcher et al, Contraceptive Technology, Ardent Media, 2005. Harvard Health Publications, Health A-Z, "Reiter's Syndrome," www.mylifetime.com/lifestyle/health/health-a-z/reiters-syndrome.
Source of Photos: Centers for Disease Control, Public Health Image Library (PHIL), phil.cdc.gov/phil.