Chlamydia Trachomatis is a type of bacteria which can often go undetected, it is one of the most common sexually transmitted infections (STIs) in the UK and affects both men and women.
If Chlamydia is left untreated for a prolonged length of time it can pose a risk to health.
Chlamydia is spread through having unprotected vaginal, anal or oral sex. You can also catch it through the sharing of sex toys. It is a very common sexually transmitted infection due to most people being unaware they have it.
Chlamydia can be passed from mother to child during childbirth. Typically this results in the baby developing eye or chest infections.
It’s important to tell your doctor if you are pregnant and you think you may have chlamydia or any other sexually transmitted infection.
Most people who get Chlamydia don’t realise they are infected since often there are no symptoms. When symptoms do show up, they are typically:
- pain when peeing
- unusual discharge from the vagina, penis or anus
- in women, bleeding after having sex, bleeding between periods and pain in the tummy
- in men, painful and swollen testicles
Testing for Chlamydia is done by either a urine or a swab test at a sexual health clinic or at your doctors.
You do not always need to be assessed by a nurse or doctor, some sexual health services can provide free Chlamydia testing kits which you can take home.
You will then provide either a sample of urine or take a swab sample which you then post or take back to the sexual health clinic.
Chlamydia is easily treatable with antibiotics. The majority of people are cured in the first round of treatment.
You may be given a course of tablets to take over a week or just for a single day. You should avoid sex until you and your sexual partner have finished the treatment.
If you took a 1 day course of treatment then you should avoid sex for a further 1 week.
If you are infected you should inform current and previous partners so that they can attend a sexual health clinic to receive treatment.
Being sexually active means that you are at risk of catching Chlamydia, before having unprotected sex with a new partner you should make sure that you have both been tested.
You can help to lower your risk of becoming infected with Chlamydia by:
- using a condom for vaginal, oral or anal sex
- not sharing sex toys or washing them in between use