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Risk Factors for Chlamydia

A risk factor is something that increases your chances of getting a disease or condition.

Chlamydia is far more common in women than in men. The risk is highest among adolescents and young adults (generally up to age 25), who are more likely to take risks with their sexual behavior. African Americans have a higher prevalence of chlamydia than Caucasians. Other high-risk groups include American Indians, Native Alaskans, and Hispanics.

Chlamydia cannot be seen, so you cannot tell if someone has it. Since most people are unaware they are infected, chlamydia can get transmitted from person to person without your knowledge.

Other factors that may increase the chances of chlamydia:

  • Multiple or frequent changes in sex partners
  • Inconsistent or incorrect condom use —latex condom use helps prevent the spread of sexually transmitted infections (STIs)
  • A history of chlamydia or other STIs—reinfection is common and can lead to serious reproductive complications
  • Excessive alcohol or illegal drug use—increases the risk of risky sexual behavior
  • Men having sex with men

Another risk factor for women is cervical ectropion, a condition where cells from inside the cervix are on the outside. Although it usually does not cause problems, it can make you more susceptible to infection.

REFERENCES:

2015 Sexually transmitted diseases treatment guidelines. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website. Available at: https://www.cdc.gov/std/tg2015/default.htm. Updated January 25, 2017. Accessed February 16, 2018.

Chlamydia—CDC fact sheet (detailed). Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website. Available at: https://www.cdc.gov/std/chlamydia/STDFact-chlamydia-detailed.htm. Updated September 26, 2017. Accessed February 16, 2018.

Chlamydia genital infection. EBSCO DynaMed Plus website. Available at:https://www.dynamed.com/topics/dmp~AN~T114223/Chlamydia-genital-infection. Updated August 23, 2017. Accessed February 16, 2018.

Mishori R, McClaskey EL, WinklerPrins VJ. Chlamydia trachomatis infections: Screening, diagnosis, and management. Am Fam Physician. 2012;86(12):1127-1132.

Last reviewed March 2018 by EBSCO Medical Review Board David L. Horn, MD, FACP  Last Updated: 3/15/2015