Chlamydia is a common sexually transmitted disease. Everyone who has sex without a condom (or vagianal condom) risks being infected with chlamydia.
The most common way of becoming infected is by sex without a condom (or vagianal condom) when mucous membranes come in contact with each other. This also applies to anal sex and oral sex. The bacteria only lives within other living cells and you can therefore not become infected by hand shakes, sauna benches, clothes, towels, or toilet seats. Having untreated chlamydia during pregnancy can when giving birth put the baby's health at risk.
Most people infected with chlamydia have no symptoms but can still spread the infection. Symptoms, if there are any, occur within 1-3 weeks after infection and are usually characterised by vaginal bleeding or urethral discharge and pain when urinating. The bacteria can also lay dormant for long periods and then suddenly cause both symptoms and complications.
Complications and infertility
Untreated chlamydia infection can cause pelvic inflammatory disease, which increases the risk of ectopic pregnancies or future infertility. People with a penis can get epididymitis, prostatitis, urethritis, and possibly decreased fertility. Everyone can get conjunctivitis and arthritis. Chlamydia infection in the mother can be transmitted to the child during delivery causing neonatal conjunctivitis and neonatal pneumonia. A child infected with neonatal chlamydia pneumonia has an increased risk of getting asthma later in life.