Since 1998 there has been a huge rise in the sexually transmitted infection Chlamydia, and it has now become the most frequently diagnosed STI in the UK. Chlamydia is often known as ‘the silent disease’ due to the lack of symptoms and is caused by a bacterium called Chlamydia Trachomatis.
Chlamydia is transmitted through unprotected sexual contact, and due to its lack of noticeable symptoms goes largely undiagnosed. Over 50% of men and 70% of women who are infected with Chlamydia experience no symptoms and many other people have minor symptoms that go unnoticed.
Women that have Chlamydia may experience some mild symptoms like, cystitis, vaginal discharge and abdominal pain, and if left untreated can cause pain during sex, pelvic pain or bleeding or spotting between periods. In some cases it can lead to Pelvic Inflammatory Disease (PID).
Men that have been infected with Chlamydia can experience discharge from the penis or a mild irritation on the tip of the penis, which will generally disappear in a couple of days. In some cases the testes may become inflamed or swollen.
The most common treatments for Chlamydia are antibiotics, and if taken as advised can be more than 95% effective. They come in either a single dose (Azithromycin), or a series of pills that can last up to two weeks (Doxycycline). If you are prescribed either of these antibiotics, you must ensure that you follow the instructions and finish the course; if this is not done properly the infection could come back.