Chlamydia is the most common sexually transmitted infection (STI) in the UK. Many people do not display symptoms of chlamydia when infected during the early stages, meaning they continue with their sexual activity, unknowingly spreading the infection even further.

80% of women and 50% of men with chlamydia in the UK do not show symptoms, so the only way to know for sure if you have chlamydia, or any sexually transmitted infection, is to get tested.

As the world’s leading private provider of sexual health testing services we have helped many thousands of people worldwide and in the UK get tested and treated for chlamydia.  Here we look at some frequently asked questions when speaking to our patients about chlamydia and a few key UK and global statistics.

What is Chlamydia and how do you get it?   

Chlamydia is caused by a specific strain of bacteria known as chlamydia trachomatis, which is spread predominantly through sexual contact.  It can be passed to another person by having vaginal, anal or oral sex.  A pregnant person can also give the infection to their baby during childbirth.

Signs and symptoms of Chlamydia?

Due to the fact that many people do not show any signs or symptoms of chlamydia, it is advised to adopt a routine of regular STI testing to know for sure whether you have an infection.

For those that display symptoms, they can include:

  • Vaginal or penile discharge
  • Burning or pain during urination in both men and women
  • Back pain, or unusual pain during sex for women
  • Bleeding in between periods
  • Swollen testicles and/or discomfort around the tip of the penis

What are the risk factors associated with a Chlamydia infection?

Chlamydia is a serious infection which can lead to long term health issues if not treated.  The most common health implication is infertility in women and reduced fertility in men.  This is because the bacteria can infect the cervix in women and the urinary tract in both men and women. 

Chlamydia can also cause pelvic inflammatory disease (PID) in women, leading to an increased risk of ectopic pregnancy, or pregnancy outside the womb.  PID has also been associated with an increased risk of ovarian cancer.

A chlamydia infection can occasionally lead to miscarriage or preterm delivery in pregnant women.  If the baby is exposed to the infection during delivery, they could suffer from eye infections or pneumonia. If chlamydia is left untreated, there is an increased risk of contracting other STIs, including HIV.

How is Chlamydia treated?

How is Chlamydia treated?

The good news is chlamydia is curable and can be treated with a simple course of antibiotics.  You should ensure you take the full course of medication and do not engage in sexual activity until the treatment is completed.  You should also see that your sexual partners are treated to avoid re-infection.  

If you test positive for chlamydia, Better2Know can provide you with the prescription you need or arrange a follow-up consultation with a doctor if desired.

What are the key UK and Global statistics for Chlamydia?

According to official statistics from public health England, chlamydia is the most common STI in England with 161,672 new diagnoses in 2020.  This compares to 57,084 diagnoses of gonorrhoea, which was in second place.

Manchester is the city that makes the most STI related internet searches, with the most common search term being ‘chlamydia symptoms’.  London however has the highest rate of STI incidence with 5,319 case per 100,000 people.  Globally, the World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that in 2020 there were 129 million new infections of chlamydia.  

Get tested for Chlamydia with Better2Know?

Better2Know’s standard chlamydia test uses a urine sample or vaginal swab for women and a urine test for men.  We can also take a swab of your vagina, rectum or throat if you are displaying particular symptoms.  You should wait 14 days after any incident of concern before having a test for chlamydia.

We offer many other individual STI tests along with comprehensive STI Screens which are created by medical experts.  One of our STI screens is the Peace of Mind Screen which tests for Chlamydia as well as Syphilis and Gonorrhoea. 

You can book online using the ‘book now’ button or call us using the number at the top of this page.  We can arrange discreet testing at a clinic near you, with a private nurse visit, or you can order a convenient home test kit.


[1] STI rates remain a concern despite fall in 2020

[2] STI hot spots by city

[3] STD Statistics – facts and figures for the UK in 2021

[4] Sexually transmitted infections (STIs)

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