Chlamydia is an infection caused by the bacterium Chlamydia trachomatis. A person can have chlamydia more than once in his or her life.
People with chlamydia most often do not show symptoms. A person may be infected without knowing it.
When a person has symptoms, they appear 2 to 3 weeks after infection. This period can sometimes be as long as 6 weeks.
Symptoms of chlamydia include the following:
Mothers may pass on infections to their babies during childbirth. The infection can affect their eyes (conjunctivitis) or their lungs (pneumonia). They can have the following symptoms:
If you have symptoms, or if you have had unprotected sex, see a health-care professional or contact Info-Santé 811.
Chlamydia is treated with medication. Treatment heals infections completely. People infected must receive treatment as soon as possible to avoid complications.
Medication to treat chlamydia is free for those infected and for their sexual partners. To receive medication, people infected and their partners must first get a prescription. They can then obtain medicine at a pharmacy upon presentation of their health insurance card.
Treatment requires a certain amount of time to heal the infection. During this period, the person is still contagious.
In order to not spread chlamydia or catch it again, the infected person and his or her partners must avoid having sex until they are healed.
Before having sex, the infected person and his or her partners must wait:
Also, they must wait until any symptoms are completely gone.
If they cannot wait, the infected person and his or her partners can use a condom. They may also use a sheet of latex to cover the vulva or anus during oral sex. This way, the mouth does not come into direct contact with the genitals. A sheet of latex can be made by unrolling a condom, cutting off both ends and then cutting it lengthwise.
People with chlamydia should inform their sexual partners immediately. This way:
If left untreated, chlamydia can last several months and lead to complications, even in people with no symptoms.
Possible complications include:
Chlamydia also increases the risk of getting or spreading HIV.
An infected person can spread chlamydia even if he or she has no symptoms.
Sexual transmission can occur during:
Sexual transmission can occur in the absence of penetration, orgasm or ejaculation.
An infected mother can pass on chlamydia to her baby during childbirth. For further information, read the Sexually Transmitted and Blood-borne Infections (STBBIs) and Pregnancy page.
There is no vaccine to protect against chlamydia.
For the best protection against chlamydia, use a condom:
The use of a sheet of latex to cover the vulva or anus during oral sex lowers the risk of spreading chlamydia. It helps prevent direct contact between the mouth and the genitals. A sheet of latex can be made by unrolling a condom, cutting off both ends and then cutting it lengthwise.
Sex toys should not be shared. People who share sex toys can lower the risk of spreading chlamydia by covering them with a condom. They must change condoms between each partner.
A person who has had unprotected sex should consult a health-care professional to see if he or she needs to be tested. This way, a person with chlamydia can avoid passing it on to other people and prevent complications.
Testing for chlamydia is done by analysing urine sample or secretions collected from the vagina, cervix, urethra or anus.
To be tested, consult a health-care professional or call Info-Santé 811.
Last update: March 9, 2017 11:00 AM
The information on this website by no means replaces the advice of a health professional. If you have questions regarding your health, contact Info-Santé 811 or see a health professional.