Know Your STD :: Chlamydia
Chlamydia trachomatis is the most commonly reported infectious disease in the U.S.
WHAT IS IT?
Chlamydia is a sexually transmitted disease (STD) caused by the bacterium Chlamydia trachomatis. An estimated 2.8 million people are infected yearly nation-wide.
WHY DO GAY/BI MEN NEED TO KNOW ABOUT IT?
Untreated chlamydia in a man can cause chronic infections in the prostate, rectum, and other organ systems. It can also cause sterility.
HOW DO I GET IT?
Chlamydia is spread from person to person during unprotected oral, anal, or vaginal sex. Like gonorrhea, chlamydia is site-specific. So, depending on what you're into, if a penis is going in your mouth or in your butt, you can be infected in those places. If your penis is going inside someone's mouth, butt or vagina, you can be infected in your penis. It is possible to be infected in more than one site at the same time.
A guy does not need to ejaculate (cum) in order for transmission to occur during unprotected sex.
Using a latex or polyurethane condom will help prevent transmission if used correctly, and used every time.
Communicate with your partners about current or previous risks for STDs, and familiarize yourself with the symptoms of chlamydia.
WHAT ARE THE SYMPTOMS?
Most people with chlamydia have no symptoms. About 75% of infected women and about 50% of infected men have no symptoms. Chlamydia symptoms are similar to gonorrhea.
Typical, site-specific symptoms (for those men that develop them), may include:
IN THE BUTT
- Mucus in stool
- Discharge (white, yellow or green fluid) from rectum
- Anal itching and/or soreness
IN THE PENIS
- Pain and/or burning sensation when peeing
- Dripping or discharge (white, yellow or green fluid) from tip of penis
IN THE THROAT
- Mild sore throat
- Swollen glands in neck
- Usually no symptoms
HOW DO I KNOW IF I HAVE IT?
Unlike gonorrhea, good site-specific testing for the butt and the throat is not available, so clinicians need to rely on symptoms and sexual histories to identify a possible chlamydia infection outside of the penis.
The only way to know for sure is to be tested. Even if a person feels fine, they should get tested if they've had uprotected sex (most people don't have symptoms!). If symptoms are present, get tested immediately. If a person's partner has been diagnosed with chlamydia, you may be considered for presumptive treatment. If you aren't experiencing any symptoms, it's best to wait 10 days to 2 weeks after your last unprotected sexual encounter to get tested.
HOW IS IT TREATED?
Chlamydia is treated with a type of antibiotic that is taken by mouth. It is extremely important to finish all medicine that you are given, even if your symptoms are gone.
It is possible to be reinfected with chlamydia after treatment if a person is exposed again.
For more specific information about treatment, consult your medical provider. You can also read more in the CDC's 2006 Sexually Transmitted Diseases Treatment Guidelines.
WHAT ABOUT SEX PARTNERS?
It is best to wait two weeks after treatment, but at the very least wait at least one week after treatment before having any kind of sex (oral, anal, or vaginal) to avoid infecting others and avoid becoming re-infected.
It is important that anybody that you have had sex with in the last two months (or your last sex partner if more than two months ago) be notified about your infection.
Each of your sex partners will need to be tested and treated. Do not have sex with anyone you have had sex with that has not been tested and treated. Remember it is not possible to know how long a person has had chlamydia because it is possible to have the infection for a long time and not know it.
Click here for information on how to notify your partners online through InSPOT.
WAYS TO REDUCE YOUR RISK
- Use latex or polyurethane condoms every time to help prevent transmission
- Use a new condom or latex glove for each new partner in group settings
- Limit the number of people you have sex with
- Get a full STD exam on a regular (at least annual) basis, depending on your risk
- Get your partners tested on a regular basis
For more information about Chlamydia, check out the CDC's Chlamydia Fact Sheet.
Questions about your risk? About testing? Contact the HIM Program or call us at 612.348.9100.Content updated: May 08