NurseAsk Nurse Lisa


What is Chlamydia?

Chlamydia is a common, Sexually Transmitted Infection (STI) that can infect both male-bodied and female-bodied people. Chlamydia is caused by bacteria that can infect the penis, vagina, anus or mouth/throat.

How do I know if I have chlamydia?

Most Chlamydia infections don’t cause signs or symptoms. If symptoms do appear, they may not appear until several weeks after having sex with an infected partner. Even when chlamydia causes no symptoms, it can damage your reproductive system.

Symptoms may include:

  • For female-bodied people, abnormal vaginal discharge
  • For male-bodied people, discharge from the penis
  • For male-bodied people, pain, and swelling in one or both testicles ( less common)
  • Burning sensation when urinating for both male-bodied and female-bodied people

Rectal symptoms include:

  • Rectal Pain
  • Discharge
  • Bleeding

Visit a medical provider for noticeable symptoms or order an STI self-test kit in Alaska. 

Can chlamydia be treated?

Yes, chlamydia can be treated and cured with antibiotics prescribed by a medical provider. It is essential to take all of the medication a doctor/provider prescribes to cure the infection.

It is possible to have repeat infections with chlamydia and testing is recommended about three months after treatment.

How can I get it?

  • Chlamydia can be passed from person to person during vaginal, anal or oral sex. Ejaculation does not have to happen for the infection to be passed from one person to another.
  • Chlamydia can also be passed during childbirth.

How can I get treated?

  • Chlamydia infections can be easily cured with antibiotics. See a medical provider for a prescription.
  • A laboratory test can diagnose chlamydia. A health care provider or doctor may request a urine sample or a swab sample of the throat, penis, vagina or anus to test for chlamydia.
  • Completing the prescription antibiotic treatment all the way is important, even when the symptoms go away, or you start to feel better.
  • Abstaining from sex for seven days after treatment is important because infections can spread if not cleared up completely.
  • Contacting any sexual partners to let them know they should be tested and treated, if necessary.

What happens if I don’t get treated?

  • About 10 to 15 percent of female-bodied people with untreated chlamydia will develop pelvic inflammatory disease (PID).
  • PID can cause permanent damage to the uterus, fallopian tubes, or ovaries and cause chronic pain, infertility, and ectopic (tubal) pregnancy.

People who are sexually active should get tested every year or more. This allows for earlier treatment, if needed. Visit a health care provider to get tested or Alaskans can order a self-test kit.

Get Help

For general resources about relationships, sex, wellness and more, please do a search on the Get Answers page.

Are you in immediate danger?

Call 911 or your local police. If not in an immediate threat, please view resources on the Get Care page.