What is it?
Chlamydia is caused by the bacterium Chlamydia trachomatis.
Who gets it?
Anyone who is sexually active, but you are more likely to get it if your a young person or are gay, bi or are a man who has sex with men (MSM). Around 70% of women and 50% of men are asymptomatic (they have no symptoms).
What are the symptoms?
If you do have symptoms they could be:
- An unusual discharge from the vagina, penis or rectum
- For men, a burning and itching in the genital area
- For men, a painful swelling of testicles
- Pain when urinating
- Vaginal bleeding after sex or between periods
- Pelvic and lower abdominal pain
- Abdominal pain in women during vaginal sex
- Bleeding during or after sex
How do you get it?
You can get chlamydia by having sex with a person who has chlamydia. It would be present in their body fluids, such as semen or vaginal fluid, so you catch it through unprotected oral, anal, vaginal sex or if sex toys are shared, if they are unwashed or aren’t covered with a condom, each time it or they are shared. You can get conjunctivitis if any infected bodily fluids gets into your eye.
How do I protect myself from it?
Chlamydia can be prevented by using male or female condoms or dental dams. Flavoured condoms can be used for oral sex. Dental dams are used for licking the anus (rimming) or vagina (cunnilingus). Gloves can be used for fingering the anus or fisting.
If your under 25 and are sexually active, you should test every year or whenever when you have a new sexual partner.
Treatment is an antibotic, usually azithromycin or doxycycline. Given as either a single dose or a course of antibotics over 7 days and you should avoid sex for 7 days.