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Chlamydia Basics

Here are the CDC's answers to common questions about chlamydia. Find more questions and answers in Chlamydia—CDC Fact Sheet.

  • Most people who have chlamydia don’t know it since the disease often has no symptoms.
  • Chlamydia is the most commonly reported STD in the United States.
  • Sexually active females 25 years old and younger need testing every year.
  • Although it is easy to cure, chlamydia can make it difficult for a woman to get pregnant if left untreated.

What is chlamydia?

Chlamydia is a common STD that can infect both men and women. It can cause serious, permanent damage to a woman's reproductive system, making it difficult or impossible for her to get pregnant later on. Chlamydia can also cause a potentially fatal ectopic pregnancy (pregnancy that occurs outside the womb).

How is chlamydia spread?

You can get chlamydia by having anal, vaginal, or oral sex with someone who has chlamydia.

If your sex partner is male, you can still get chlamydia even if he does not ejaculate (cum).

If you’ve had chlamydia and were treated in the past, you can still get infected again if you have unprotected sex with someone who has chlamydia.

If you are pregnant, you can give chlamydia to your baby during childbirth.

How can I avoid getting chlamydia?

You can protect yourself from getting chlamydia by:

  • Not having sex.
  • Being in a long-term mutually monogamous relationship with a partner who has been tested and has negative STD test results.
  • Using latex condoms and dental dams the right way every time you have sex.

Am I at risk for chlamydia?

Anyone who has sex can get chlamydia through unprotected anal, vaginal, or oral sex. However, sexually active young people are at a higher risk of getting chlamydia. This is due to behaviors and biological factors common among young people. Gay, bisexual, and other men who have sex with men are also at risk since chlamydia can be spread through oral and anal sex.

Have an honest and open talk with your healthcare provider and ask whether you should be tested for chlamydia or other STDs. If you are a sexually active woman age 25 years or younger, then you should get a test for chlamydia every year. Gay, bisexual, and men who have sex with men as well as pregnant women should also be tested for chlamydia.

Can chlamydia be cured?

Yes, chlamydia can be cured with the right treatment. It is important that you take all of the medication your doctor prescribes to cure your infection. When taken properly it will stop the infection and could decrease your chances of having complications later on.  Medication for chlamydia should not be shared with anyone.

Repeat infection with chlamydia is common. You should be tested again about three months after you are treated, even if your sex partner(s) was treated.

Last Updated: 
9/1/15