Chlamydia is the most common sexually transmitted infection in the UK. With
the number of infected continuing to rise Chlamydia is fast becoming an
epidemic, especially in the under 25s. In 2009 88% of women and 69% of men
diagnosed were under 25.
Do I have Chlamydia?
Chlamydia rarely shows any symptoms. You and your partner could be infected
and not have a clue. The few who experience symptoms may expect an unusual
discharge, pain during sex and bleeding after sex for women. Men may experience
discharge from the penis, pain when urinating and painful swelling of the
testicles if the infection has been left untreated.
Symptoms If left untreated, chlamydia can cause long- term problems in women
such as chronic pelvic inflammatory disease (PID). It is estimated that 10 - 30%
of women infected with chlamydia will develop pelvic inflammatory disease. PID
causes pain and damage to the Fallopian tubes. These tubes carry the egg to the
womb and if damaged, can cause problems with fertility. In men, it is thought
that the infection affects the movement of sperm, thus causing problems with
- Pain when passing water.
- An unusual or unpleasant discharge from the vagina or penis.
- Pain in the tummy
- Bleeding between periods or after sex in women.
Chlamydia is easily treated with antibiotics. Current and previous sexual
partners also need treating to prevent the spread of infection
Prevention is better than a cure!
Use condoms! When used properly and consistently condoms help to protect
against infection with chlamydia and other sexually transmitted infection.
Chlamydia has an alarming re-infection rate, with one in ten of all 15-24 year
olds diagnosed in 2009 being re-infected within a year. Ideally you should be
tested for Chlamydia couple of times a year, or every time you change sexual
If you are concerned that you may be infected with chlamydia, make an
appointment at your local genitourinary clinic (GUC). Visit
for a list of all NHS sexual health clinics. The tests are easily performed and
treatment is simple. Remember, you can reduce the risk of later complications by
Further information on all sexual infections is available on 0800 567 123 or
from Health Protection Agency.
Should I be tested?
Yes! If you have never been tested and have had unprotected sex you should
be tested for Chlamydia. The infection can lead to fertility problems in both
men and women. It can also cause Reiterís syndrome, a form of arthritis if left
untreated. As there is virtually no way of telling yourself if you have
Chlamydia it is extremely important to take action and get tested. Itís not just
your health at risk, itís your partners and any other future partners you and
they may have!
What can I expect from being tested? Being tested for Chlamydia is easy and
itís also possible to test yourself at home for free. An online service such as
completely free and confidential Chlamydia testing for 16-24 year olds depending
on where you live in England. If you opt for a service like this you will be
sent a home test kit which includes either a swab or urine test. You then test
yourself and send the sample to a lab through the freepost package provided.
Results can be sent to you via text message. Home testing is an
embarrassment-free way to check your sexual health. Alternatively, local GUM
clinics are available around the country to carry out Chlamydia testing as well
as all the other various STI checks.