Chlamydia FAQs: What is chlamydia and how common is it?A: Chlamydial (kla-mid-ee-uhl") infection is caused by the bacteria Chlamydia trachomatis. Symptoms of chlamydia include abnormal genital discharge which appear within 1 to 3 weeks after exposure. However, half of infected women and 25 percent of infected men may have no symptoms whatsoever. Chlamydia in women can cause pelvic inflammatory disease and thus potential infertility, inflamed rectum (proctitis), and inflammation of the lining of the eye (conjunctivitis). Laboratory tests can confirm presence of chlamydial infection and distinguish it from gonorrhea, another common and often accompanying STD.
Chlamydia is the leading sexually transmitted disease (STD) in the United States today, with an estimated 4 million new cases occurring each year. A pregnant woman may pass the infection to her newborn during delivery. Pelvic inflammatory disease (PID), a serious complication of chlamydial infection, has emerged as a major cause of infertility of women of childbearing age. The annual cost of chlamydial infections and their sequelae is estimated to exceed $2 billion.
Adapted from the Office on Women's Health, Department of Health and Human Services