Chlamydia are a wide-branched family of bacteria that, depending on their subgroups, can cause various diseases. Chlamydia is an intracellular pathogen and requires cells from other organisms for its survival and multiplication. Two important subgroups can be distinguished:
1. Chlamydia pneumoniae
2. Chlamydia trachomatis
Infection with Chlamydia trachomatis is the most common sexually transmitted disease in the United States. In males, the urethra is infected and in females it can infect both urethra and cervix. It also causes pelvic inflammation, which can lead to infertility and ectopic pregnancy. An infected individual may never develop any signs or symptoms.
The disease affects both men and women of all age groups but is most commonly reported in young adults who are sexually active.
If an individual experiences pain during urination and starts noticing discharge from the penis or vagina then a test should be performed. Laboratory tests such as the ELISA and ELISPOT are used to detect the infectious condition.
People affected with C. trachomatis may be asymptomatic. If symptoms occur, they are usually mild and can go unnoticed. The signs occur two weeks after exposure to the bacteria. Common symptoms include:
Lower abdominal pain
Pain during urination
Discharge from vagina (women) or penis (men)
Bleeding during intercourse
Chlamydia isn't difficult to treat once it has been diagnosed. It is usually treated with such antibiotics as azithromycin, erythromycin and doxycycline. In order to prevent reinfection, the treatment is usually done with both partners at the same time.