Chlamydia (Chlamydia trachomatis)

Chlamydia is a sexually transmitted infection (STI) caused by the bacterium Chlamydia trachomatis. If left untreated, it may lead to serious long-term health problems.

You can catch it by having sexual contact with someone who is infected, even if they do not have symptoms.


Most people infected with chlamydia do not show any symptoms. As a consequence, it is under-diagnosed. However, if symptoms do occur, they usually appear two to six weeks after exposure.

Chlamydia can cause a burning sensation when urinating (peeing). Other symptoms include abdominal or lower back pain, painful sex, abnormal vaginal discharge, vaginal bleeding between periods or during/after sex, abnormal discharge from the penis, itching around the opening of the penis, painful or swollen testicles, and rectal pain, bleeding or discharge.

If left untreated, serious complications can develop including chronic pelvic pain, pelvic inflammatory disease, infertility, and reactive arthritis.

Chlamydia can also cause problems during pregnancy (such as miscarriage, premature birth and low birth weight) or make it difficult to become pregnant. Pregnant people can pass on the infection to their baby during childbirth. This can cause eye or lung infection in the baby.


Chlamydia is transmitted during vaginal, anal or oral sex. It can be passed from an infected mother to her baby during childbirth. Anyone who is sexually active can be infected with Chlamydia. The risk of infection increases with the number of sexual partners.

Teenage girls and young women are more at risk. This is because their cervix is not fully matured. It is more susceptible to infection.


Chlamydia can be easily diagnosed with a urine sample. It can also be diagnosed with a swab taken from the cervix, urethra (penis), or rectum. Swabs may also be taken from other locations (e.g., throat) depending on the individual situation. Chlamydia can be cured with antibiotics if found early. Once diagnosed, all sexual partners should be evaluated, tested and treated.

  • The risk of becoming infected with chlamydia can be reduced by practicing safer sex (e.g., using condoms/barrier methods correctly and consistently).
  • Get tested regularly if you are sexually active, especially if you have new sexual partner(s).
  • If an infection is suspected, people should not have sex until all partners are tested and treated.
  • Tell your sexual partner(s) if you have a sexually transmitted or blood borne infection (STBBI), so they can be tested and treated. This will help reduce the spread of disease.
  • People with chlamydia infection should not have condomless sex for 7 days after single-dose antibiotics or until completion of a multiple-dose treatment.

Talk with a doctor or health care provider about your risk for Chlamydia. Have an open and honest conversation about your sexual history and testing for STIs. Your doctor can give you the best advice on any testing and treatment that you may need.

Manitoba Health Resources

For Health Care Providers

Other Resources

Communicable Disease Control (CDC)
Public Health
Manitoba Health

4th Floor - 300 Carlton St.
Winnipeg MB  R3B 3M9  CANADA

Health Links – Info Santé
204-788-8200 or 1-888-315-9257