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What is Chlamydia, what causes the disease and how is it treated?

Chlamydia has become the most common sexually transmitted infection (STI) in the UK with over 60,000 reported cases each year.

The disease is a bacterial infection of the genital tract affecting both men and women. It can be transmitted during anal, oral or vaginal sex (if no condom is used) and can affect the penis, vagina, anus, throat and even the eyes.

Chlamydia can also be passed from mother to child during child birth causing serious eyes problems and in some cases pneumonia.

Fortunately, Chlamydia can be easily treated with a course of antibiotics such as doxycycline, or a single dose of azithromycin.

However, the problem with this particular STI is that there are very few, if any, symptoms. Some people may experience abdominal pains, painful urination or vaginal discharge. Woman may also suffer vaginal bleeding during sex and bleeding between periods. Unfortunately, just as many people will display no symptoms whatsoever and be completely unaware they are carrying the infestation.

This is real danger because, if left untreated, Chlamydia can cause serious health problems, particularly Pelvic Inflammatory Disease - an infection of the uterus and fallopian tubes that can cause infertility, ectopic pregnancy, and in extreme cases even death.

It is vitally important for all sexually active women to have regular sexual health check-ups, where you are tested for Chlamydia and other sexually transmitted infections.

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