What is Chlamydia?
Chlamydia is the most common STI in the UK. However, it’s very easy to treat and cure.
It is caused by a bacterium called Chlamydia Trachomatis which can live in the Uterus (womb), vagina and cervix (entrance to the womb), urethra (pee tube), rectum (back passage/bum) and sometimes in the throat and eyes.
If you are sexually active, anyone can get Chlamydia and pass it on – you don’t need lots of sexual partners to catch it. Most people don’t know they have it unless they have a test.
It has significant complications particularly for women. This is called pelvic inflammatory disease (PID) and the possible complications are ectopic pregnancy (when the pregnancy develops in the tubes instead of the womb), chronic pelvic pain, and infertility.
What are the Symptoms?
80% women and 60% men show no symptoms at all or they are so mild you may not notice them.
Symptoms in men could be pain when passing urine, discharge from the tip of the penis, tingling in the “pee-pipe” (urethra) or pain in the testicles (balls).
Symptoms in women may be pain passing urine, increased discharge from the vagina, spotting (bleeding) between periods or after sex, heavier periods and/ or lower abdominal (tummy) pain.
What is the treatment?
It is treated with antibiotics. If you take the treatment correctly, it is over 95% effective at treating the infection.
You’ll be given antibiotic tablets as a single dose or as a course (up to 2 weeks).
Treatment in Sexual Health clinics is free. If you get a prescription from your GP you may have to pay a prescription charge. Or you can buy treatment online, however please check with a health professional that you are receiving the correct medication if you buy online.
There is currently no evidence that complementary therapies can cure chlamydia.
Partner(s) will need treatment too. It is advised that you tell your current partner but this isn’t compulsory. If you feel you need help with this, the staff at the clinic can do this for you. This is partner notification and is anonymous. None of your details are passed on to protect your confidentiality. If you are unsure, the clinic staff can discuss with you which of your sexual partners should be tested or treated.
How can I get a test?
Anyone who is sexually active can test for Chlamydia.
If you are under 25, you can get a test as part of the National Chlamydia Screening Programme. (NCSP) This can be done in a clinic or at a screening event if you see the Outreach team out and about or you can request a kit online to be sent home. All your information is keep confidential, this is not routinely shared with any other agencies including your GP. However, if you are under 16 we will need to ask you some further questions about your sexual activity to make sure you are staying safe.
You can request a test online if you are under 25.
Anyone over 25 can currently get a free test at any Sexual Health clinic or with their GP. You can also buy a test online.