By far, the most common STD in Maricopa County is Chlamydia. Chlamydia is caused by the bacterium Chlamydia trachomatis and usually is transmitted through vaginal or anal intercourse.


Men may experience a burning sensation during urination and discharge from the urethra but usually they have minimal or no symptoms. Symptoms may appear 1 to 3 weeks after exposure.
Women may experience a burning sensation upon urination, vaginal discharge or lower abdominal pain. Women, however, often don't have any symptoms and therefore must rely on their partners to inform them that they have the disease.

In neonates (a human infant less than one month old), a Chlamydial infection results from exposure to the mothers infected cervix at the time of birth. Prenatal screening of pregnant women helps prevent this infection. Chlamydial trachomatis infection in newborns is often recognized by conjunctivitis, or pinkeye, that develops 5-12 days after birth. Sexual abuse should be considered when cases are found in preadolescent children.

Diagnosis & Treatment

Antibiotics are prescribed for Chlamydia and usually clear up the infection in one to two weeks. Treatment is recommended for all sexual partners of people infected with Chlamydia even if the infection is only highly suspected and symptoms are absent. Otherwise, the infection can be passed back and forth between partners.

The antibiotic ointment administered at birth to newborns does not prevent the perinatal transmission of Chlamydia from mother to infant.

Potential Complications

If left untreated, Chlamydial infections can be serious. Men can experience inflammation of the urethra and epididymis (part of the male reproductive system), and women can get urethral infections and inflammation of the cervix and other pelvic organs. Conjunctivitis or pinkeye may occur during the first 2 weeks after birth, or Chlamydial pneumonia may develop in the newborn.

For more information on Chlamydia, contact Maricopa County Public Health Division of STDs at 602-506-1678 or visit the Centers for Disease Control website.