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Jan. 26, 2007

Oswego County Health Director Gives Advice about Chlamydia

Chlamydia is one of the most common sexually transmitted diseases (STDs). Each year more than 3 million Americans get this disease, which is caused by bacteria and spread through sexual contact with an infected person.

In 2006, Oswego County reported 183 cases of chlamydia, an increase of about 10 cases from the previous year.

“Any sexually active person can be infected with chlamydia,” said Kathleen Smith, Director of Public Health for Oswego County. Most often, chlamydia occurs in adolescents and young adults who have new or multiple sex partners and who do not consistently use condoms.

Approximately 75 percent of women and 50 percent of men have no symptoms. Most people who are infected with chlamydia are not aware of their infections and may not seek health care.

“It is important for all sexually active persons to have regular examinations so that a clinician can take specimens to screen for possible chlamydia infection,” said Smith.

Women's symptoms may include a yellow-white vaginal discharge, a small amount of blood or bleeding between periods; and pain or burning when urinating. Male symptoms may include a discharge, itching, irritation and burning when urinating.

“Chlamydia can be easily treated and cured with antibiotics,” said Smith. “Patients can be re-infected if their sex partners aren't treated.”

Complications may occur when chlamydia isn't treated. Women frequently develop pelvic inflammatory disease, which can cause infertility; chronic pelvic pain, tubal pregnancies, and other serious conditions. In men, untreated chlamydia can cause urethral infection and other complications.

To limit the spread of chlamydia:

  • Limit your number of sex partners

  • Use a male or female condom

Those who think they may be infected should avoid any sexual contact and visit a sexually transmitted disease (STD) clinic, a hospital, or their doctor.

For more information on chlamydia testing or treatment, contact the Oswego County Health Department at 349-3547 or 1-800-596-3200, ext. 3547, or visit http://www.health.state.ny.us/diseases/communicable/.

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