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Transmission, symptoms and screening for chlamydia

What is chlamydia?

Chlamydia is an infection caused by the bacteria chlamydia trachomatis. This is the most common sexually transmitted (STBBI) and is often asymptomatic. The bacteria can therefore be transmitted to a sexual partner unknowingly. Chlamydia is most often diagnosed in young adults (15-24 years old) and women seem slightly more frequently infected than men. Chlamydia can affect the cervix, urethra, rectum, throat and eyes. An individual can be infected more than once in his life.

How is chlamydia transmitted?

Chlamydia can be contracted through unprotected sex (vaginal, oral or anal) with an infected person. Transmission can occur even without penetration, orgasm or ejaculation. It can also be contracted through contact between partners’ genitals or the sharing of sex toys. An infected mother can transmit chlamydia to her baby during childbirth.

What are the symptoms of chlamydia?

Most infected people do not show symptoms. Other people, however, develop symptoms 2 to 6 weeks after contact with the bacterium.

In women, symptoms can include:

  • A burning sensation when urinating
  • Lower abdominal pain
  • A change or increase in vaginal discharge (especially between periods)
  • Pain or bleeding at the time of penetration
  • Fever
  • More frequent need to urinate
  • A sore throat (usually transient)

In men, they may include:

  • A burning sensation when urinating
  • Itching in the area of the rectum
  • Testicular pain or swelling
  • A clear or milky discharge from the penis
  • A sore throat (usually transient)

How to get tested

Anyone who has unprotected sex is at risk of being infected with chlamydia and should consult a health care professional for screening if necessary. Chlamydia is detected by identifying the bacterium responsible in a sample of urine or secretions taken from the vagina, cervix, urethra or anus. Various assay techniques can be used, but by far the most widely used is nucleic acid amplification using the polymerase chain reaction (PCR) assay.

Nucleic acid amplification test (NAAT) in most cases:

How is chlamydia treated?

Chlamydia must be treated promptly to avoid transmitting the bacterium to sexual partners and to avoid complications (infertility, chronic lower abdominal or testicular pain, ectopic pregnancy, chronic prostate infections). This STI is effectively treated with antibiotics. However, individuals remain potentially contagious for the duration of the treatment as long as they show symptoms or for at least one week after a single-dose treatment.

Did you know?
The number of reported cases of chlamydia is rising steadily, especially among young males aged 15 to 24.

For professional support, we’re here for you. 

We offer STBBI screening without a prescription. Simply fill out a free, confidential questionnaire to determine which tests are appropriate, then make an appointment.

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Do you have symptoms? You will need a doctor’s note to be tested. Once you have one, make an appointment online or contact Biron Health Group customer service at 1 833-590-2712.

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