Brian A. Boyle MD, Adam Stracher MD, David Folk Thomas
Chlamydia is often refered to, and joked about, as "the clap".
But for the 3 million people who are infected with it each year in the
U.S. alone, it's no laughing matter. Join our panel of experts for
a discussion of the causes and treatments for this sexually transmitted
DAVID FOLK THOMAS: Welcome to our webcast. I'm David
Folk Thomas. Our topic is chlamydia. Now we all know that sexually
transmitted diseases or STDs are very high on our conversation list, or
our preferred conversation list. But we're looking to change all
of that. Chlamydia affects an estimated 3 million Americans every year.
It's commonly referred to as the clap, but for those Americans who
are infected, it is not joke.
Joining us to discuss chlamydia
today are two experts. We're joined by two doctors. Dr. Brian
Boyle and Dr. Adam Stracher. They are both attending physicians at New
York Presbyterian Hospital, Cornell University Medical Center. They are
both Assistant Professors in the Department of International Medicine and
Infectious Diseases at Cornell University Medical College. They are not
twins. One is from Los Angeles; one is from Long Island. Doctors, thanks
for joining us.
This by the way is Dr. Stracher on my left and
sitting next to him is Dr. Brian Boyle. Thanks for joining us today.
ADAM STRACHER, MD: Pleasure.
DAVID FOLK THOMAS:
Let's just get right to the topic, chlamydia. People have heard
about it. They know about the clap. We'll start with you Dr.
Stracher. What is chlamydia?
ADAM STRACHER, MD: Chlamydia is a
bacterial infection that causes many different symptoms in patients who
get infected. It is a very common sexually transmitted disease. It affects
both men and women. It can be transmitted in several different ways.
DAVID FOLK THOMAS: Dr. Boyle, go back and forth. Why
don't you explain exactly how it is transmitted? I know a lot of
people they know about sexually transmitted diseases -- that's one
of the big things they're unsure of. Can I only get it this way?
or that way? How many different ways can you get chlamydia?
BRIAN BOYLE, MD: It's generally through sexual transmission and
generally through vaginal intercourse or anal intercourse can also spread
chlamydia. The main problem with chlamydia is that people can carry it
asymptomatically. People who have chlamydia may not know that they have it
and they may be spreading it to others sexually. People who have it may
have serious consequences of it, if it's not treated, in addition
to spreading it to other people.
So it's generally
spread sexually. Then the symptoms of it, which we'll talk about
in a minute, may or may not appear which can lead to problems with
detecting it and treating.
DAVID FOLK THOMAS: Now you said
vaginally and you mentioned anal intercourse. What about oral sex? Is that
BRIAN BOYLE, MD: Generally not. I mean you can
--potentially you could get a chlamydial infection of the mouth if someone
was infected. But that's generally not a problem. Generally it
does not colonize the oral pharynx to any remarkable extent.
DAVID FOLK THOMAS: I mentioned that they estimate 3 million Americans are
infected every year. How common is chlamydia in the realm of STDs? Do more
people have chlamydia than say herpes or gonorrhea or is it an even mix,
ADAM STRACHER, MD: It depends on whether
you're talking about symptomatic disease. Chlamydia is a very
common infection. More people have probably been exposed to herpes
infection but may not have symptoms from herpes infection. But chlamydia,
as you said, affects about 3 million people. At least half, both men and
women, may have no symptoms as Dr. Boyle mentioned. The problem there is
that they may spread it to other people. Then if those people are infected
and don't get treated, they may develop consequences later on that
may be not life-threatening but very serious.