INTRODUCTION Chlamydiae are Gram-negative obligate intracellular bacteria. The developmental cycle of Chlamydiae is specific and different from other bacteria. The elementary body is the infectious form of the organism, responsible for attaching to the target host cell and promoting its entry. The reticulate body is the larger, metabolically active form of the organism, synthesizing deoxyribonucleic acid, ribonucleic acid and proteins. The elementary body and reticulate body represent evolutionary adaptations to extracellular and intracellular environments. INTRACELLULAR PERSISTENCE OF CHLAMYDIA Predisposition of Chlamydia to persist within the host cell has been recognized as a major factor in the pathogenesis of chlamydial disease. The persistence implies a long-term association between chlamydiae and their host cell that may not manifest as clinically recognizable disease. The ability of chlamydia to remain within one morphological state for a long time in response to exogenous factors suggests an innate ability of these organisms to persist intracellulary in a unique developmental form. Chlamydiae induce interferon gamma and exhibit growth inhibition in their presence. While the high levels of interferon gamma completely restrict the development of chlamydia, its low levels induce the development of morphologically aberrant intracellular forms. The persistent forms contain reduced levels of major outer membrane protein but high levels of chlamydial heat shock protein. CONCLUSION Immunopathogenesis of chlamydial infection is one of the main focal points of current research into Chlamydia. Chlamydial infections are highly prevalent, usually asymptomatic and associated with serious sequelae. Screening programmes are the most important in the prevention of a long-term sequele.