Chlamydia is a common infection caused by a bacteria (Chlamydia trachoma) spread by unprotected sex and sharing sex toys.

The bacteria can go undetected for a very long time. It is a common infection with around 1 in 10 sexually active young people under the age of 25 testing positive.

How is it passed on?

If one partner is infected, the bacteria can be passed during unprotected vaginal anal or oral sex.. Rarely, the germ can be passed from an infected mother to her baby as it passes down the birth canal. Practising safer sex and using a condom with your partner reduces the risk. Reducing the number of partners you have sex with also reduces the risk of being infected.

What are the signs and symptoms?

Most people don’t have any symptoms, but it can cause:

• pain when you passing urine

discharge from the penis
• swollen or painful testicle

• vaginal discharge
• abdominal pain
• irregular bleeding

How will you know if you have Chlamydia?

You can only be certain you have Chlamydia if you have a check up. You can get a Sexual Health screen at  your GP, your local Pharmacist or at your local sexual health clinic.

How do you get tested?

Getting tested is simple and involves either a urine sample or a swab to take a sample of cells from the vagina or penis. Testing kits are available from Pharmacists that you can do at home yourself, this involves providing a urine or swab sample which you can post or take to the clinic for testing.

In men the usual  test for  Chlamydia is a urine sample. In women the test for Chlamydia is a vaginal swab – if you have no symptoms you can take it yourself. Men with male sexual partners are usually offered anal and throat swabs if they have had anal or oral sex.

What is the treatment?

Chlamydia is easy to treat with antibiotics. If you are worried visit your local sexual health clinic, GP surgery or visit your local pharmacist who can provide testing and treatment.

Is there anything I can do myself?

The best way to prevent all sexually transmitted infections, including Chlamydia is to practise safer sex. This means using a condom for vaginal or anal sex or a condom or dental dam for oral sex. Reducing the number of partners you have sex with also reduces the risk of being infected.

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