What is it?
Chlamydia is caused by bacteria called chlamydia trachomatis. It can be found in the semen and vaginal fluids of infected people. It is passed from one person to another through:
- Unprotected vaginal sex
- Unprotected anal sex
- Unprotected oral sex
- Close genital contact
- Sharing sex toys
It cannot be passed on by kissing, hugging, sharing baths or towels, swimming pools, toilet seats or from sharing cups, plates or cutlery.
Chlamydia can also be passed from mother to baby during birth (vertical transmission); if detected, it can be treated during pregnancy with antibiotics.
Chlamydia is the most common bacterial sexually transmitted infection.
How will I know if I’m infected?
The most common symptom is no symptom at all. Other symptoms include:
- Abdominal (tummy) or back pain
- Pain when urinating (weeing)
- Unusual vaginal discharge
- Bleeding between periods
- Pain during or bleeding after sex
- Discharge from penis
- Burning sensation when urinating (weeing)
- Swollen and sore testicles
- Itchy and burning penis
The only way to be absolutely sure is to be tested
How can I get rid of it?
The test for chlamydia is simple, painless and doesn’t necessarily require a physical examination by a nurse or doctor.
There are two types of test:
- a urine test or
- a swab test.
The swab is like a small cotton bud. It is wiped over the parts of the body that could be infected e.g. the inside the vagina the tip of the penis. Women can take the swab from inside their vagina themselves. A nurse/doctor may take swabs from the tip of the penis throat or rectum. This may be slightly uncomfortable but should not be painful.
If necessary, you may be advised to have another test two weeks after having sex. You will be offered a chlamydia test as part of your treatment with us
Under 25s can get also get tested for free as part of the National Chlamydia Screening Programme. You can request a chlamydia test annually or whenever you change your sexual partner.
Ask us for advice or contact your local sexual health services. See NHS Choices website for local services: www.nhs.uk