Chlamydia is a sexually transmitted infection (STI) which can affect those that are sexually active, which is to say that it can affect a very large range in age groups through-out the population. It is very interesting in that chlamydia is the most oft reported STI in the United States (Breguet, 2007) with over three million new cases each year (Silverstein & Silverstein-Nunn, 2006). Another very interesting fact is that chlamydia is known as a “silent” disease. That is to say that often times in both men and women there are no symptoms of infection (Ross, 2008). In fact as many as 85% of women and 40% of men who are currently infected are without symptoms (Silverstein, Silverstein, & Silverstein-Nunn, 2006). This can cause severe medical problems later on down the road. This paper will examine what chlamydia actually is, how it is spread and treated, and some of the risk factors associated with acquiring it. Natural History of Chlamydia
Chlamydia trachomatis was first discovered in 1907 and was thought to be a virus, but later in the 1960s it was found to be a bacterium (Breguet, 2007). As mentioned in the introduction it can infect only those who are sexually active as this is the only way it is transmitted from one person to another. However, vaginal intercourse is not its exclusive means of transmission. A person may become infected via oral or anal intercourse (Dougherty, 2010) and perhaps it is thought by sex toys as well (Marr, 2007).
Chlamydia does infect both men and women, but seems to infect women at a higher rate. This is because women have delicate mucosal tissue in the vagina which is susceptible to small tears and abrasions which permit the infection more easily than in men (Kolesnikow, 2004). To elaborate with numbers there were 3,004 per 100,000 women infected ages 15-19 (Dougherty, 2007) as compared with 615 per 100,000 men the same age. Going up to ages 20-24 there were 2,948 per 100,000 women infected as compared to...