Chlamydia is a bacterial infection and the most common Sexually Transmitted Infection (STI).

How is it passed on?

Chlamydia can be passed on through vaginal, anal, and oral sex.

The bacteria that cause chlamydia are unable to survive outside the body for long periods of time. Chlamydia is not spread through hugging and kissing, sharing baths, swimming in a shared pool, cups or toilet seats.


Most people with chlamydia will not have symptoms.

A person with chlamydia may experience symptoms anytime from a few weeks to months or years after the initial infection.

When symptoms occur in women they can cause changes in vaginal discharge, pelvic pain or irregular periods.

When symptoms occur in men they can cause pain when passing urine or a discharge from the end of the penis.

Long term effects

It is possible for some people to experience long term problems from chlamydia, these include reduced fertility or an increased risk of ectopic pregnancy in women and ongoing testicular pain in men.

If chlamydia is present when giving birth it can pass from mother to child, potentially leading to eye infections and pneumonia.

Chlamydia can also cause problems with infections in the joints as well as increasing the chances of getting or passing on HIV.

Get tested

As most people with chlamydia will not have symptoms, you could be passing infections on to other people without knowing it. It is therefore important to test regularly and especially when changing partners.

You can order a postal STI test with our digital partner SH:24 here or you can find a Dorset Sexual Health clinic to get tested there.

The STI Test Kit


The test for chlamydia is a vaginal swab for women or a urine test for men. Men who have sex with men will also be offered anal and oral swabs.

Chlamydia may take two weeks to show up in a test from the time of infection.


Treatment for chlamydia is with antibiotic tablets. After you and your partner are treated you should not have sex for 7 days. Three months after you have treated the infection you should re-test for chlamydia.

When will I know my results?

As soon as your test results are available we will send you a text message. If the result is positive for chlamydia we will let you know how to get treatment.

Telling your partner

If you have chlamydia, you should tell all current partners as well as anyone else you have had sex with in the last six months. Current and previous partners may have chlamydia without knowing, so it is important for them to be tested.

How to avoid chlamydia

  • Condoms can help prevent chlamydia infection.
  • Free condoms are available at sexual health clinics.
  • Testing each time you change sexual partner helps reduce the spread of Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs).


Can my partner(s) tell if I have chlamydia?

They may be able to tell if you have symptoms of this infection but not if you don’t. However, you should tell your partner(s) if you have chlamydia as they will need testing and may need treatment. They may also be the source of the infection but be unaware.

Does chlamydia affect fertility?

Recurrent chlamydia or untreated chlamydia could affect your fertility. Prompt diagnosis and treatment of the infection is likely to minimise this risk.

To make an appointment or for further advice, please call:

0300 303 1948

Phoneline open 08:15-16:45 Monday-Friday

(closed 12:30-13:30 for lunch)