Chlamydia is one of the most common sexually transmitted infections (STIs) in the UK. It is passed on through unprotected sex (sex without a condom) and is particularly common in sexually active teenagers and young adults.
On this page, you will find comprehensive information about chlamydia, including its symptoms, how it is transmitted, available treatments, and preventive measures.
Chlamydia is a bacterial infection caused by the bacteria Chlamydia trachomatis. It can infect the genital tract, throat, and rectum. Most people with chlamydia do not notice any symptoms and are unaware that they have it. This is why getting tested regularly is crucial, especially if you are sexually active and under the age of 25.
Most people with chlamydia do not experience any symptoms. However, if symptoms do occur, they may include:
If you suspect you may have chlamydia or are at risk of a sexually transmitted infection (STI), it is important to visit a healthcare professional for testing.
Chlamydia can usually be easily treated with antibiotics. The most commonly prescribed antibiotics for chlamydia are doxycycline and azithromycin. It is essential to complete the full course of antibiotics as prescribed by your healthcare provider. It is also important for your sexual partner(s) to be tested and treated to prevent reinfection.
Testing for chlamydia is simple and painless. It can be done using a urine test or a swab test. You can get tested at a sexual health clinic, a genitourinary medicine (GUM) clinic, or your GP surgery.
If you do not currently have a GP surgery, you can register with us for online and in-person healthcare services here.
In some areas, young people can order a postal testing kit online as part of the NCSP. Search for free online tests for under-25s to see if this is available in your area.
In England, if you are a sexually active woman under 25, it is recommended that you have a chlamydia test once a year and when you have sex with new or casual partners.
Similarly, sexually active men under 25 in England should also consider annual testing if they are not using condoms with new or casual partners. You can also purchase chlamydia testing kits for at-home use.
While chlamydia may not usually cause symptoms, it can lead to serious health complications if left untreated. In women, untreated chlamydia can cause pelvic inflammatory disease (PID), ectopic pregnancy, and infertility. In men, it can lead to epididymitis (inflammation of the testicles) and potentially affect fertility. Therefore, it is crucial to get tested and treated as soon as possible if you suspect you have chlamydia.
Chlamydia is a highly common sexually transmitted infection, and anyone who is sexually active can be at risk. However, you can take steps to protect yourself and reduce the likelihood of contracting or spreading the infection:
If you experience any symptoms of chlamydia or are concerned about a potential STI infection, it's essential to seek medical advice promptly. Schedule a visit with your GP, visit a community contraceptive service, or go to a local genitourinary medicine (GUM) clinic. These healthcare providers are experienced in diagnosing and treating STIs.
Remember, early detection and treatment of chlamydia can help prevent complications and protect your long-term health.
In conclusion, chlamydia is a prevalent sexually transmitted infection that can have serious consequences if left untreated. It's important to be aware of the symptoms, get tested regularly, and practice safe sexual behaviors. If diagnosed with chlamydia, timely treatment with antibiotics is highly effective. By taking proactive steps to prevent and manage chlamydia, you can safeguard your sexual health and well-being.