How is Chlamydia Transmitted?

If STDs were coffee shops, chlamydia would be Starbucks. In other words, chlamydia is very common. Indeed, chlamydia is the most reported bacterial disease in the US, and the CDC notes roughly 1.5 million chlamydia infections occur every year. Still, a large portion of those infected with chlamydia don’t know they have it and probably don’t know how they got it in the first place. To that point, today we’ll answer a question everyone needs to know the answer to: how is chlamydia transmitted?

Defining Sexual Contact

“Sexual contact” is a term that gets thrown around a lot in reference to STDs. And in fact, you can accurately say that chlamydia is transmitted through sexual contact. But what does that mean? To put it bluntly, chlamydia transmission can occur through oral, anal, and vaginal sex. But wait –– there’s more. Sexual contact doesn’t need to involve penetration or ejaculation. If certain porous membranes on the genitals or within the mouth make contact with each other, then it’s possible for chlamydia to pass from one individual to another. Of course, to get chlamydia you have to have sexual contact with a person who already has the disease. There is one exception to that rule, which we’ll address here.

Chlamydia & Pregnancy

It is possible for expecting mothers to pass chlamydia to their newborn babies during delivery. What’s more, pregnant women with chlamydia are at risk of going into labor prematurely; and children born with chlamydia are susceptible to eye infections and pneumonia.

STD Transmission Myths

Now that we’ve defined sexual contact, it’s time to focus on “casual contact.” You can think of casual contact as shaking hands, sharing a bathroom, or generally being around someone with chlamydia. The myth that you can pick up an STD from a toilet seat or by simply touching an infected person has persisted for a long time, but it’s just that –– a myth.

Dealing with Chlamydia

As we covered in our earlier blog about recognizing chlamydia, most people won’t experience any blatant signs or symptoms of the disease. However, if you’ve had sex with multiple partners, had unprotected sex (oral, anal, or vaginal), or engaged in any sexual activity with a person with chlamydia, then you could have it and not even know about it. What’s more, if left untreated, chlamydia –– like most STDs –– can lead to a number of other health issues and render those infected with a higher risk of contracting HIV.


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