Chlamydia is one of the most common STIs in the UK and it’s on the increase. But the good news is it’s easy to test for and really easy to treat.
Chlamydia can be passed on through unprotected vaginal sex, anal sex or oral sex (kissing, licking or sucking someone’s genitals). If people share sex toys and do not wash them or cover them with a condom every time then they can pass chlamydia on as well.
Getting a Chlamydia test is really easy and you should get one if you have any concerns at all, and particularly any of the following have happened to you:
- You’ve had sex without a condom
- A condom has split while you were having sex
- A condom has slipped off or failed in any way while you were having sex
- If someone you’ve had sex with tells you they have chlamydia
How to recognise Chlamydia
People with Chlamydia don’t always have symptoms – so you could have it and not even know! If you notice any of these signs you need to be checked so it can be sorted quickly.
- Unusual vaginal discharge
- Pain when passing urine
- Heavy period or bleeding between periods
- Pelvic and lower abdominal pain
- Abdominal pain during vaginal sex
- Bleeding during or after sex
- White/cloudy and watery discharge from penis
- Pain when passing urine
- Painful swelling of testicles
Half of all infected men and 80% of infected women have no symptoms at all. The result of this is that a huge number of infections remain undiagnosed and untreated.
If you have any symptoms, or you’re worried for any other reason, it’s really important to get tested. If you leave Chlamydia untreated it can spread to other parts of your body, causing pain and inflammation in the joints. Women are at risk of developing PID – pelvic inflammatory disease, which can lead to infertility in the future.
Where can I go to get tested?
You can get tested at your GP surgery or at a family planning clinic or a sexual health clinic. Sexual health clinics are usually known as GUM (Genitourinary Medicine) clinics and are often part of your local hospital.
It is also possible to get postal testing kits in some parts of the UK which involve sending a urine sample or a swab through the post to be tested. You can find out if a free postal test is available in your area by using the National Chlamydia Screening website.
How it’s treated
Chlamydia is really easy to treat, usually with a single dose of antibiotics. You shouldn’t have sex until treatment is complete.
Don’t be put off by any rubbish you hear. There are no embarrassing or painful things that you need to do when you go for a test. It’s usually a simple swab you take yourself if you’re a woman, or a urine test if you’re a man.
This information is sourced from Brook.