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Diseases & Topics

Chlamydia

Chlamydia is the most commonly reported STD (sexually transmitted disease) in the United States and in North Carolina. Although it is easy to cure, most men and women who have chlamydia don't know they have it since it often causes no symptoms, and so do not seek treatment.

Even though symptoms of chlamydia are usually mild or absent, serious complications that can cause irreversible damage to a woman's reproductive system can occur before she ever recognizes a problem. In women, untreated chlamydia can cause infertility, pelvic inflammatory disease (PID), or problems during pregnancy. Chlamydia can also be passed from an infected mother to her baby during vaginal childbirth and put the baby at risk for complications such as premature birth, pneumonia or eye infections (chlamydial conjunctivitis, or ophthalmia neonatorum). Since chlamydia can be transmitted by oral or anal sex, men who have sex with men are also at risk for chlamydial infection. Chlamydia infection also increases the risk of HIV infection.

Sexually active females 25 years old and younger need to be tested for chlamydia every year. Since women are frequently re-infected if their sex partners are not treated, a woman who has been infected should ensure that her partner is also tested and treated. Chlamydia screening of pregnant women at intervals during pregnancy is required by North Carolina law.

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