What is Chlamydia?
Chlamydia is a curable bacterial infection that can be passed through body fluids during vaginal, anal, and oral sex with someone who has the infection.
If left untreated, chlamydia can sometimes cause serious complications, including pelvic inflammatory disease (PID), painful swelling of the testicles (balls), ectopic pregnancy (pregnancy that happens in the tubes, not the uterus), and infertility (difficulty getting pregnant).
How do you catch Chlamydia?
Chlamydia is carried in genital fluids and can be passed on when you have vaginal, anal, or oral sex with someone who has the infection.
It’s possible, but less likely, that chlamydia can be passed during other types of sex e.g. sharing sex toys, ‘dipping’ (brief insertion of penis into the vagina or bum) or when mutual masturbation or genital to genital rubbing involves a lot of genital fluids.
How can I prevent Chlamydia?
- Using condoms during oral, vaginal or anal sex will prevent the infection from being passed on. Condoms can also be changed between partners when sharing sex toys.
- If you’ve got Chlamydia, don’t have sex with anyone until seven days after you’ve finished your antibiotics.
- Regular STI testing – every 6-12 months – is also important and part of a healthy and confident sex life
What are the tests for Chlamydia?
When you don’t have symptoms, Chlamydia can be tested by a urine sample or a self-collected vaginal swab. Sometimes a throat swab or self-collected anal swab should be taken too.
If you’re having any symptoms, the nurse or doctor will need to take a look. This will help them decide what kind of testing or treatment you might need.
What is the treatment for Chlamydia?
The good news is that most cases of Chlamydia are cured in one dose of antibiotics. If you do have Chlamydia, make sure you let anyone you’ve had sexual contact with in the past six months know so they can get treated too. And, as always, make sure you go back for regular testing.