Chlamydia is a sexually transmitted disease, explains the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. In addition to sexual activity, mothers with chlamydia can pass the disease to their infants during childbirth. Chlamydia can be successfully treated with medication before it causes complications.
Heterosexual and gay couples can spread chlamydia through vaginal, anal or oral sex, the CDC explains. A man does not have to ejaculate to spread the disease, and a person may be infected again after successful treatment if they are exposed to chlamydia again.
Untreated chlamydia can cause reproductive problems in women, the CDC reports. Women who do not seek treatment right away may have difficulty getting pregnant or develop an ectopic pregnancy, a potentially fatal condition when a pregnancy occurs outside the uterus. Men rarely have health issues related to chlamydia.
Chlamydia often has no symptoms, the CDC says. Women may notice burning while urinating or an unusual vaginal discharge, which may occur several weeks after contracting the disease. Men may have a discharge from their penises, burning while urinating and occasionally a swollen testicle.
The only way to completely avoid developing chlamydia is to not have sex, the CDC explains. However, the risk is lower when using a latex condom during every sexual encounter and having a monogamous sex partner. People with multiple sex partners should be tested annually for chlamydia.