Infection with the bacterium Chlamydia trachomatis can lead to a variety of diseases, including ectopic pregnancy, infertility and blindness. Exposure of the host to C. trachomatis stimulates multiple innate and adaptive immune effectors that can contribute towards controlling bacterial replication. However, these effectors are often insufficient to resolve the infection and prevent re-infection, and the continued presence of C. trachomatis within the host may induce immune effectors to chronically produce inflammatory cytokines. This may eventually lead to the tissue pathologies associated with the infection. Reducing the incidence and sequelae of infection will ultimately require the development of a C. trachomatis vaccine that can stimulate sterilizing immunity while avoiding immune-mediated pathology.