Chlamydia Infections

What is chlamydia?
Chlamydia is a common sexually transmitted disease (STD) caused by a bacterium. Chlamydia can infect both men and women and can cause serious, permanent damage to a woman’s reproductive organs.

How common is chlamydia?
Chlamydia is the most frequently reported bacterial sexually transmitted infection in the United States. In 2011, 1,412,791 cases of chlamydia were reported to CDC from 50 states and the District of Columbia, but an estimated 2.8 million infections occur annually. A large number of cases are not reported because most people with chlamydia do not have symptoms and do not seek testing. Chlamydia is most common among young people. It is estimated that 1 in 15 sexually active females aged 14-19 years has chlamydia.

How do people get chlamydia?
People get chlamydia by having sex with someone who has the infection. “Having sex” means anal, vaginal, or oral sex. Chlamydia can still be transmitted even if a man does not ejaculate. People who have had chlamydia and have been treated can get infected again if they have sex with an infected person. Chlamydia can also be spread from an infected woman to her baby during childbirth.

Who is at risk for chlamydia?
Any sexually active person can be infected with chlamydia. It is a very common STD, especially among young people. It is estimated that 1 in 15 sexually active females aged 14-19 years has chlamydia. Sexually active young people are at high risk of acquiring chlamydia for a combination of behavioral and biological reasons. Men who have sex with men (MSM)
are also at risk for chlamydial infection since chlamydia can be transmitted by oral or anal sex.

To read more about this topic, including symptoms and treatments, please see the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. You may also wish to see related HealthyNJ pages:Genital Herpes, Genital Warts, Gonorrhea, Pelvic Inflammatory Disease, Syphilis, and Trichomoniasis and other Sexually Transmitted Infections.

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