4 minute read


How to Spot Symptoms, Get Tested, and Protect Yourself

May 18, 2023

First, let’s answer a commonly asked question; is there a difference between STIs (sexually transmitted infections) and STDs (sexually transmitted diseases)? The simple answer is no! They both mean that infections are being passed between people during sex. STIs occur when someone is infected with something that causes a disease. Infections don’t always progress and develop symptoms, but when they do, they become STDs. STIs are some of the most common health issues in the world today.(1) One of the most common STIs is chlamydia which, if left untreated, can lead to serious health complications. So, what is chlamydia and how can you avoid it?

What is chlamydia?

Chlamydia is a bacterial STI caused by Chlamydia trachomatis. In people assigned male at birth, untreated chlamydia can spread to the testicles and the tubes that carry sperm from the testicles and cause infertility. In people assigned female at birth, untreated chlamydia can spread to reproductive organs and can cause pelvic inflammatory disease (PID), life-threatening pregnancy outside the uterus (ectopic pregnancy), and/or infertility.

But the tricky thing about chlamydia is that in most cases—it doesn't cause any noticeable symptoms. This means that many people who have chlamydia don't even know they do.2 

How is chlamydia transmitted?

Chlamydia spreads from person to person during sexual activity and skin-to-skin contact with someone who has the infection. Let’s look at ways a person could contract chlamydia.

Can you get chlamydia with a condom (protected sex)?

Yes, you may be at risk of getting chlamydia if the condom isn’t used correctly or the wrong type / size of condom is used. Condoms can reduce your risk of getting chlamydia if they are used the right way every time you have sex.

Can you get chlamydia from oral sex, anal sex, or masturbation?

Yes, you can get chlamydia from oral sex and anal sex. Chlamydia can be spread through contact with any infected fluids, including semen, pre-semen, and vaginal fluid. It’s unlikely to get chlamydia from masturbation. 

However, chlamydia can be transmitted during masturbation if you’re in close enough contact where infected body fluid can be exchanged. 

Can you get chlamydia without having sex?

Yes, it’s possible to get chlamydia without having sex. Pregnant people can give chlamydia to their baby during childbirth.

Can you get chlamydia from kissing, drinking, or smoking?

No, you cannot get chlamydia from kissing, drinking, or smoking. Chlamydia isn’t spread through saliva.

Can you get chlamydia from a toilet seat, clothing, or other surfaces?

No, you cannot get chlamydia from a toilet seat, clothing, or other surfaces. Chlamydia is not spread through casual contact.

What are the symptoms of chlamydia?

While chlamydia may not have symptoms—this does not make it any less dangerous. Since many STIs do not have symptoms, you may not be aware that you have an infection. The only way to know for certain whether you have an STI is to get tested. 

Some people may experience symptoms like:

  • Frequent urination
  • Painful urination
  • Burning sensation while urinating
  • Painful intercourse
  • Vaginal discharge that is white, yellow, or gray 
  • Vaginal discharge that may have an unusual odor
  • Burning or itching around and in the vagina
  • Bleeding between periods
  • Clear, watery discharge from the penis
  • Rectal pain, bleeding, or discharge
  • Unusual sores in or around the genital area

How do you test for chlamydia?

Unfortunately, many people shy away from being tested because they feel embarrassed or ashamed. At the same time, some people aren't even aware that they have an STI because they don't have any symptoms. But the only way to know for sure if you have chlamydia is to get tested. Our Chlamydia and Gonorrhea Test offers an easy and discreet way to check for two of the most common STIs. With just a urine sample or swab, Quest can detect for these STIs, so you can get the peace of mind you deserve. 

How is chlamydia treated? Does chlamydia go away on its own naturally?

Chlamydia rarely resolves on its own, and it’s crucial to seek treatment as soon as possible. Our chlamydia testing is performed with a urine sample or swab, and if detected, the independent physician who reviews your results may be able to offer you treatment options. Antibiotics (antibacterial medication) are effective in treating and curing chlamydia. If you are prescribed medication, it's important to take all the medication as prescribed—even if you start feeling better before you finish.

How do you prevent chlamydia?

The best way to protect yourself and your partner from chlamydia is to practice safe sex. This means using condoms correctly and consistently during all types of sex. It's also important to get tested regularly if you're sexually active, especially if you have multiple partners.

Don't take your negative chlamydia status for granted. 

Even if you don't have symptoms, you could still be infected and spread the infection to others without knowing it. Getting tested regularly and practicing safe sex can go a long way in preventing the spread of chlamydia and other STIs. Remember, there's no shame in getting tested or seeking treatment for an STI. Your health is important. Getting tested is a responsible choice that can help protect your health and the health of others.


No doctor visit is required to buy your own lab test at questhealth.com. PWNHealth and its affiliates review your purchase to ensure its medically appropriate before submitting the test order for processing. PWNHealth also reviews your test results and will contact you directly if they require prompt attention. Included in each purchase is the option to discuss your test results with an independent physician; however, you are also encouraged to speak with your primary healthcare provider. 


  1. World Health Organization. Sexually transmitted infections (STIs). Accessed March 24, 2023. https://www.who.int/news-room/fact-sheets/detail/sexually-transmitted-infections-(stis) 
  2. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Chlamydia. Accessed March 24, 2023. https://www.cdc.gov/std/chlamydia/default.htm 


  1. https://www.cdc.gov/std/pregnancy/stdfact-pregnancy-detailed.htm
  2. https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/diseases/4023-chlamydia 
  3. https://www.questhealth.com/product/chlamydia-gonorrhea-test-11363M.html