It is possible to have undiagnosed chlamydia for years, as many people are asymptomatic after infection, according to Brown University. When symptoms do occur, it is typically within one to three weeks of exposure; however, in up to 75 percent of women and 50 percent of men there are no symptoms. Using a condom during sex and getting tested regularly is recommended for anyone not in a mutually monogamous relationship.
Chlamydia is a bacterial infection that is spread through vaginal, anal and oral sex, as well as through childbirth when the mother is infected, according to Brown University. Symptoms of a chlamydia infection in a man include pain during urination, a white or milky discharge from the penis, and pain or swelling of the testicles. In women, symptoms include pain during urination and sex, vaginal itching, irregular periods and pelvic pain.
According to Brown University, because symptoms often go unnoticed, chlamydia can lead to pelvic inflammatory disease, scarring and sterility in women, as well as sterility in men. Chlamydia is diagnosed by taking a swab of the anal, vaginal or urethra opening or a urine sample for analysis. Chlamydia is easily curable with a course of antibiotics. It is important for people diagnosed with chlamydia to notify past sexual partners to prevent the further transmission of the disease and abstain from sex during treatment to prevent re-infection.