What is it and how do I get it?

Chlamydia is a bacterial infection. It is most commonly passed on by having sex without a condom, but it can also be passed by oral sex or rimming. Rates of chlamydia have increased substantially in the last ten years. 

How do I prevent it?

Using condoms will prevent many cases of chlamydia. If you wanted to reduce the risks further, you would have to use condoms, femidoms, or dental dams for oral sex. Oral sex carries a risk even if neither partner cums.

How do I know I've got it?

One to six weeks after being infected, it can cause a yellowy white discharge from your genitalia or, more rarely, from your bum or throat – the three most common places to catch it. You may also have pain when pass urine and an urge to pass urine more frequently than usual.

However many infected people don't show any symptoms at all, but are still infectious, so they can pass it on to other sexual partners without knowing it.

A sexual health clinic can test you for chlamydia and this should form part of routine sexual health check-ups. It is tested for by taking a urine sample or a swab from your penis / vagina and bum. If left untreated, the infection can spread from the penis to other parts of the body. LGV is a form of chlamydia and is more common in men living with HIV.

How do I get it treated?

Chlamydia is usually treatable with antibiotics. If you have chlamydia you should inform your recent sexual partners. It's important that you tell any regular partner so that they can get tested and treated too. You then need to avoid sex with them until the treatment has taken effect (usually a couple of weeks) as it's common for people to pass it back and forth to each other. If this happens you'll need treatment again.

Which sexual partners should I inform if I've been diagnosed with chlamydia?

If you have symptoms, you should inform anyone you've had sex with up to four weeks before the symptoms started. If you don't have any symptoms, you should inform anyone you've had sex with in the last six months, or your last sexual partner if it was longer than six months.

Last updated: 19/11/2016