Chlamydia is a common sexually transmitted disease
(STD) caused by the bacterium, Chlamydia trachomatis, which can damage a woman's reproductive organs.
Chlamydia is the most frequently reported bacterial sexually transmitted disease in the United States.
Chlamydia can be transmitted during vaginal, anal, or oral sex
Any sexually active person can be infected with chlamydia. The greater the number of sex partners, the greater the risk of infection. Because the cervix
(opening to the uterus
) of teenage girls and young women is not fully matured and is probably more susceptible to infection, they are at particularly high risk for infection if sexually active. Since chlamydia can be transmitted by oral or anal sex, men who have sex with men are also at risk for chlamydial infection.
Chlamydia is known as a "silent" disease because the majority of infected people have no symptoms. If symptoms do occur, they usually appear within 1 to 3 weeks after exposure.
Men or women who have receptive anal intercourse may acquire chlamydial infection in the rectum
, which can cause rectal pain, discharge, or bleeding. Chlamydia can also be found in the throats of women and men having oral sex