Sexually Transmitted Diseases : Chlamydia (kla-mid-ee-ah)

What is it ?

Chlamydia is a serious bacterial disease especially for women, if not treated early. It may cause a discharge from the vagina, or pain when passing urine. Most women and some men have no symptoms of the disease.

How did I get it ?

By direct contact, usually sexual, with an infected person.

What can it do to me ?

In women chlamydia can cause a serious infection of the womb and tubes (pelvis inflammatory disease). It can lead to sterility and ectopic or tubal pregnancy. Early treatment can protect against these problems. Women can infect their newborn babies. Men can get infection of the urinary tract.

How is it treated ?

With antibiotics, usually doxycycline or azithromycin. It is important that you take the pills as directed. The disease may not be cured until all the pills are taken. Azithromycin treatment consists of 4 pills taken all at one time. Do not drink alcohol when taking antibiotics.

Does the treatment work ?

Usually, yes. You can infect another sex partner as soon as you get chlamydia. Most women and some men do not have early signs of the disease.

A pregnant women can also pass on the infection to her baby as it is being born. This can lead to infection of the eyes and lungs in the infant. It is important to inform people you have had sex with during the past 3 months because they may have the disease and not know they need treatment. Your public health nurse will contact your partner(s) if you prefer. Your name will be kept confidential.

When can I have sex again ?

After you and your sex partner(s) have finished treatment, and your doctor/clinic says you are no longer infectious (able to spread the disease to others).

Is follow-up important ?

Yes. It is important for you to return for follow-up to make sure your infection has been cured.


  • Take medicine as directed until it is finished;
  • Avoid alcohol when taking antibiotics. Also avoid milk and dairy products if taking doxycycline;
  • Return for check-up visits as your doctor or clinic requests;
  • Tell people you have had sex with in the past 3 months;
  • Use condoms to lower the chance of infections in future.

If you are still worried or have more questions, call your local health unit or STD clinic.

For More Information

Call ServiceOntario, Infoline at:
1-866-532-3161 (Toll-free in Ontario only)
TTY 1-800-387-5559.
In Toronto, TTY 416-327-4282
Hours of operation: 8:30am - 5:00pm

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