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Health Issues: Understanding Chlamydia Q&A




Chlamydia is the most common sexually transmitted infection (STI). Make sure you know how to protect yourself and your partner. This article answers some of the most common questions about chlamydia, including who is most at risk and how you can get tested.
chlamydia is most common among people under-25s. This information is still relevant to people over 25 because chlamydia can (and does) affect anyone.

What is chlamydia?

Chlamydia is the most commonly diagnosed STI. It’s most common in men and women under the age of 25. You don’t need to have lots of sexual partners to be at risk. Chlamydia is caused by a bacterium called Chlamydia trachomatis, which is found in the semen of men and the vaginal fluids of women who have the infection.

If you or your sexual partners are infected and don’t get treatment, chlamydia can spread to other parts of the body and cause pain, especially in the abdomen. It may lead to infertility (not being able to have children).

How do you get chlamydia?


You can get chlamydia by having unprotected sex (without a condom) vaginal, anal or oral sex with someone who is already infected. It can also be passed on by sharing sex toys which haven’t been washed or covered with a condom before each use.

It can also be passed by a pregnant woman to her baby during pregnancy or at the birth.

What are the symptoms of chlamydia?

Most people with chlamydia have no symptoms.


People who develop symptoms may notice them one to three weeks after contact with chlamydia, or many months later, or not until the infection spreads. If you have any of these symptoms, visit your GP or a sexual health clinic straight away.

Symptoms in women

Women may notice:

unusual vaginal discharge
bleeding between periods
bleeding after sex
heavier periods (including women who are using hormonal contraception)
pain (or bleeding) during sex
pain when passing urine
lower abdominal (pelvic) pain
Symptoms in men

Men may notice:


a white/cloudy or watery discharge from the penis
burning and itching in the genital area
pain when passing urine
painful swelling of the testicles
For both men and women:

If the infection is in the rectum, there are rarely symptoms but it can sometimes cause discomfort and discharge.

Infection in the eyes can cause symptoms including pain, swelling, irritation and discharge.

Infection in the throat isn’t common and there are no symptoms.

How is chlamydia treated?


The most common treatment for chlamydia is a course of antibiotics. The two most commonly prescribed treatments are:

azithromycin (a single dose)
doxycycline (a longer course)
How quickly will the treatment work?

You should notice improvements quickly if you had any signs or symptoms. If the symptoms don’t improve, seek advice from your GP, a sexual health clinic or pharmacy. You may have a different STI which could need further tests and different antibiotics.

If you have pelvic pain or persistent pain during sex, see your doctor or nurse. They may need to prescribe you with further treatment or investigations.

Will I need to go back to the clinic?


Not if you’ve taken your treatment as instructed. However, you may need to return to get tested again if:

You think you’ve come into contact with chlamydia again.
You had unprotected sex with your partner before the treatment was finished.
You didn’t complete the treatment or you didn’t take it according to the instructions.
The signs and symptoms don’t go away.
Your test was negative, but you develop signs and symptoms of chlamydia.
When can I have sex again?

Avoid having sex until the infection has been cleared from your body. When you can have sex again depends on the treatment you have.

If you or your partner have a single-dose antibiotic (azithromycin) you need to avoid having sex until seven days afterwards.

If you or your partner take a longer course of antibiotics, don’t have sex until you’ve finished taking the antibiotics.


Do I need to tell my sexual partner that I have chlamydia?

Yes. If you test positive for chlamydia, it’s very important that your current sexual partner and any other recent partners are also tested and treated if necessary. The staff at the clinic or your GP will discuss with you which of your sexual partners may need testing.

You may be given a “contact slip” to give to your current or former partner(s). The clinic can send this for you instead (with your permission). The slip explains that they may have been exposed to an STI, and suggests that they go for a check-up.

It may or may not say what the infection is. The slip won’t have your name on it, so your confidentiality is protected. This is called partner notification. You’re strongly advised to tell your partner(s), but it’s not compulsory.

How do I protect myself against chlamydia?


The NHS National Chlamydia Screening Programme (NCSP) says that to reduce your chances of getting chlamydia you should take the following steps:

Use condoms every time you have sex. This can reduce your risk of getting or passing on chlamydia and other sexually transmitted infections (STIs), including HIV.
If you have oral sex, cover the penis with a condom or the female genitals with a dam, which is a latex or polyurethane (soft plastic) square.
If you’re not sure how to use condoms correctly, there are normally instructions in the packet. Get tips on using condoms correctly.
Each time you have a new sexual partner, both of you should have a chlamydia test.
Have a chlamydia test every year while you’re under 25.
If you have chlamydia, remember to:

Take all the tablets that you’re given.
Tell your partner(s) and advise them to be tested and treated.
Find out about visiting an STI clinic.

In future, always use condoms to help protect yourself and other people against chlamydia.

Contributor: Health & Wealth Foundation
Contact: tel:08032791696, BB Pin : 2A7432F5

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