What is it?
Chlamydia is a sexually transmitted infection caused by a bacterium (a microscopic organism) that lives as a parasite inside human cells. Approximately 80% of women and 50% of men will have no symptoms of the infection. When left untreated it can permanently damage the sexual organs leading to infertility in women and reduced fertility in men. In women, it can infect the cervix and urinary tract and can cause Pelvic Inflammatory Disease (PID) if it reaches the fallopian tubes. In men, it can infect the urinary tract causing swelling or inflammation of the testicles. If left untreated, Chlamydia can be very harmful so it is important to get tested regularly.
Did you know? …
Chlamydia is the most common STI in the UK, however 80% of women and over 50% of men have no symptoms so the only way to know if you have it is to get tested.
How can I get it?
It is passed on through sexual activity with someone who has it. The bacteria can thrive in various regions of the body including the penis, vagina, anus and throat, so unprotected contact with any of these areas may lead to infection.
How do I know if I have it?
As most people do not have any early symptoms, it is often difficult to tell whether you are infected. For those people who do get symptoms, these may include:
- Men and women - Burning or painful sensation when urinating.
- Women - Discharge or "mucus" coming out of the vagina, back pain, unusual pain during sex and bleeding between periods.
- Men - Discharge or "mucus" coming out of the penis, inflamed or swollen testicles and/or discomfort around the tip of the penis.
Testing with Better2Know is easy, fast and painless. Our usual test for Chlamydia is with a urine sample but we can also test you with a swab from your throat, anus or vagina if you choose (we even test for gonorrhoea at the same time). The results of our standard test are available 2 days from when the sample is received in the laboratory. If you choose our FAST test, you will get your results the same day your sample is received in the laboratory. At certain clinics you can have an instant chlamydia test and get your results in around 20 minutes.
You can also get a home sample collection kit, visit our Home STD Testing page for more details.
The infection is curable and can be easily treated with a course of antibiotics. You can receive a prescription from Better2Know.
Chlamydia is one of the most important preventable causes of infertility. Left untreated it can lead to infertility in women and reduced fertility in men.
In pregnant women it can lead to increased risk of miscarriage, preterm delivery and potentially fatal tubal (ectopic) pregnancy. If the baby is exposed to the infection during delivery, he or she could suffer from eye infections or pneumonia, so it is important to get tested.