Chlamydia is the most common STI in Canada, especially for people under 30. It’s a bacterial infection that’s usually passed on through oral, anal, vaginal, or frontal sex, but can also be passed through fingers and sharing sex toys that have come in contact with the bacteria. Chlamydia can also be passed on to a baby during childbirth and by touching your eye after coming in contact with the bacteria. More than 75% of reported cases affect people under the age of 30.
The most common symptom of chlamydia is no symptom – that’s why getting routinely tested is important! 💪 Other symptoms of chlamydia can include:
STIs often have no symptoms. The only way to know if you have chlamydia is to get tested. Testing is usually done with a urine sample or a swab of the genitals, anus, eye(s), or throat. Having chlamydia once does not protect someone from getting it again. You can get tested and access treatment at health clinics, including walk-ins, hospitals, some community health centres, or your doctor. Check out your local public health website for more information.
Chlamydia can be cured. Treatment with antibiotics usually consists of one pill, twice a day, for 7 days. Untreated chlamydia for people with a uterus can lead to permanent damage to the reproductive system, making it difficult or impossible to get pregnant later on. Chlamydia in the eye can lead to serious vision problems, including blindness, but is treatable when caught early on. Chlamydia can be passed on to children during birth. Symptoms include redness and swelling of the eye(s), discharge or watery eyes and crusted eyelids. Symptoms generally appear 5 to 12 days after giving birth.
The best way to prevent chlamydia is to use condoms (including on shared sex toys) and dental dams for oral sex. You can also wash your hands after having sex and removing condoms, and avoid touching your eyes. If you shave or wax your pubes, using condoms and lube can help reduce the chances of bacteria and viruses from entering your body. Getting tested before or in-between new sexual partner(s) is also a great routine to have in your sexual health regimen.