Health Questions and Answers

Question: How is chlamydial infection diagnosed?


Chlamydia can cause a characteristic discharge, which the patient may notice or which may be noticed on exam. This mucopurulent discharge can be cultured, or the diagnosis can be made by identifying chlamydia mRNA with a genetic probe. Depending on the population studied and the definition, chlamydia is among the most common STDs. It is often asymptomatic. Undiagnosed chlamydial infections can be a cause of infertility and chronic pelvic pain. Treatment is with doxycycline, azithromycin, or one of several quinolones. Chlamydia can also cause upper genital tract infections (i.e., pelvic inflammatory disease).


  1. BaldwinHE. STD update: Screening and therapeutic options Inter J Fertil Womens Med 46:79-88, 2001.
  2. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. 1998 guidelines for treatment of sexually transmitted diseases. MMWR 47:1-111, 1998.

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