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Definitionchlamydia , the name of a common, sexually transmitted bacteria and the infection itself, the most common sexually transmitted disease today, it is caused by the bacteria Chlamydia trachomatis. INCIDENCE: There are approximately 4 million new chlamydia infections in the US each year; it is more than twice as common as gonorrhea. SYMPTOMS: The first signs usually appear 1 to 3 weeks after unprotected anal, vaginal or oral sex with an infected person. Symptoms in both men and women vary from person to another and from mild to severe. Chlamydia is sometimes referred to as the silent epidemic because 75-80% of the women and 50% of the men show no symptoms. SYMPTOMS IN WOMEN: Vaginal discharge, pain when urinating, pain during sex, pain in the lower abdomen (sometimes with fever and chills) and bleeding between menstrual periods. SYMPTOMS IN MEN: Discharge from the urethra (a watery or milky drip), an itchy feeling inside the penis, a burning or hurtful sensation when urinating, a pain or swelling of the testicles. TREATMENT: Antibiotics such as Doxycycline, Tetracycline, Erythromycin, or Azithromycin can easily cure chlamydia if it is treated early. If left untreated, it can cause serious problems, particularly for females. In women, it can grow into a more serious illness called pelvic inflammatory disease (PID), one of the most common causes of infertility in women, and ectopic pregnancy. Mothers can pass the germ to their babies at childbirth; many of these babies will get infections of the eyes or lungs. In men, it can cause sterility when the germ spreads to the testicles. CAUTION: Chlamydia is fairly easy to get and to transmit; it is important to use condoms or a latex barrier with your sexual partner(s) to decrease the risk of getting or trasmitting a sexually transmitted infection.
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