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1st Person Narrative About Chlamydia

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Hello there! My name is Chlamydia trachomatis; you can call me trachomatis for short. These really smart people you humans like to call scientists in 1907 identified me. They told me I was a bacteria. Now, when people think of bacteria they think if itsy bitsy things, and that's true we are very tiny. About one thousand of us could fit in the little millimeter space on a ruler! Now that I have been alive a while, I have learned that human consider bacteria bad or gross, but really I'm just doing what it takes for me to stay alive.

I enter the body through vaginal, anal, or oral sexual intercourse, and most babies whose mother that I have infected will also get me, even before they are born. Almost immediately from entering the body, I start to reproduce. I reproduce asexually using a process known as binary fission, where the single chromosome that makes up the DNA in me is reproduced as an identical copy of the original. Then I split in two (it is not painful because I am very flexible. I mean, all I am is a microorganism that lacks a nucleus and has a cell wall composed of a protein-sugar molecule). Each half of me then receives one of the chromosomes, thus creating a twin of me. Because binary fission does not allow me to make the genetic changes necessary for mutation and survival in a changing environment, I must utilize different methods for evolvement. I am so advanced, that I can obtain new DNA from the remains of a decomposing bacterium, through a process called conjugation. Conjugation is when I take DNA from another bacterial relative through a tube. It might sound gross but it really isn't after you do it a couple times. After the first couple weeks of hanging around and reproducing, we might start to give the human symptoms to let them know we are there.

Every year my family infects about three million people, but we don't even give half of them symptoms to let them know that we are in their body. In women, we initially infect the cervix and the urethra. Women who we give symptoms to might have an abnormal vaginal discharge or a burning sensation when urinating. When we spread from the cervix to the fallopian tubes, some women will have lower abdominal pain, low back pain, nausea, fever, pain during intercourse, or bleeding between menstrual periods. Sometimes when we infect the cervix, we can spread to the rectum. If we are silent enough to not be discovered and treated then we like to leave the female with a few long lasting gifts. These include, infertility, ectopic pregnancy, and pelvic inflammatory disease. Women aren't the only ones who can have symptoms though.

If we decide to let the man know that we have invaded his body then we would use very different signs from the woman. Men with signs or symptoms might have a discharge from their penis or a burning sensation when urinating. Men might also have burning and itching around the opening of the penis. Pain and swelling in the testicles are uncommon.

I am what some humans call me the "silent" STD, which is why I am the most popular, and most common of all. Did you know that by the time a human is 30, 50% of them have reported that some of my family members have infected them at some time during their lives? Speaking of my family members, my family is huge. I have ancestors that go back 2000 million years! Back to when they were little bacteria. Sometimes it is hard to remember everyone's names so we abbreviate.

I'm C. Trachomatis. I have two siblings my sister Chlamydia muridarum, C. muridarum, and my brother Chlamydia suis, C. suis. C. muridarum tends to spread through mice and hamsters



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