Why Is Chlamydia Called The Clap?

Do you know why the STD Chlamydia is sometimes referred to as “the clap”? Its nickname has an interesting history and is connected to a centuries-old medical intervention for treating the infection.

In this article, we’ll explore the reasons behind this name and its implications for public health today. So put on your historian’s hat and get ready to dive into what has come to be known as “the clap”!

Why is Chlamydia Called the Clap?

Chlamydia is a sexually transmitted infection (STI) that is one of the most common STIs in the United States.

It is caused by the bacterium Chlamydia trachomatis and has become a major health concern in recent years. The term “the clap” has been used to refer to Chlamydia throughout history, but the origin of the term is unclear. Several theories have been proposed, but the true source of the term remains unknown.

Here, we explore the history and meaning behind the term “the clap” and what it means for anyone affected by Chlamydia.


One of the most common theories as to why Chlamydia is referred to as “the clap” is that it may be derived from an old French term “clapier” which translates to brothel. This could mean that people in the past associated the infection with sex workers and hence the name “the clap”.

Another theory is that it comes from a naval term “clap o’ sail”, which means to clap one’s hands loud enough to make a sail shake. This could be a reference to the swelling of the genitals due to Chlamydia infection.

A final theory is that the term originates from an old English idiom “to give someone the clap”. This idiom was often used to describe the punishment of striking someone with one’s hand.

It is possible that this idiom was linked to Chlamydia due to the effects it can have on someone’s body.

Contemporary Use

Today, “the clap” is still used as a slang term for Chlamydia. It is often used in a humorous manner and many people are not aware of the true origin and meaning behind the term.

Prevalence of Chlamydia

Despite the somewhat humorous origin and contemporary use of the term “the clap”, Chlamydia is a serious STI that can have serious health consequences if left untreated. Every year, millions of people are diagnosed with Chlamydia in the United States alone. Chlamydia is most common among young people between the ages of 15 and 2 It is also more common in certain communities, such as those that have higher rates of sexual activity or lack of comprehensive sexual health education.

Treatment and Prevention

The good news is that Chlamydia is highly treatable and preventable. Testing for Chlamydia is quick and easy, and most people can be treated with antibiotics. Regular testing for STIs is important for everyone, but especially for people who are sexually active. In addition to testing and treatment, there are several steps people can take to prevent Chlamydia and other STIs. This includes practicing safe sex, limiting partners, and getting vaccinated against certain infections.


The origin of the term “the clap” when referring to Chlamydia is unknown, but there are several popular theories. Today, the term is often used humorously without much thought to its true origin and meaning. Despite the seemingly harmless term, Chlamydia is a serious STI that can have health consequences if left untreated. Regular testing and safe sex practices are important for preventing and treating Chlamydia. Anyone who is concerned that they may have Chlamydia should speak to their healthcare provider right away.

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