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What is Chlamydia?

Chlamydia is an STI that doesn’t always show symptoms. It’s actually the most commonly reported STI in young people. It’s caused by bacteria called chlamydia trachomatis and it can be passed on through sexual fluids during oral, vaginal and anal sex.

Are there any symptoms?

Most people usually don’t notice any symptoms with chlamydia. So you can have it and not know. Some people do notice symptoms.   

  • For guys- You may notice a burning pain when urinating, whitish discharge coming from your penis, or irritation or soreness around the urethra (opening of the penis). 

  • For girls- You may notice burning or pain when urinating, an unusual vaginal discharge, pain in the lower belly, unusual bleeding or spotting from the vagina, or pain or bleeding after sex.  

If left untreated, chlamydia can sometimes cause long term damage, including infertility.

How do you catch it?

You can catch chlamydia by having unprotected oral, vaginal, or anal sex with someone who has chlamydia. Did you know you can catch and pass on chlamydia even when you don’t notice any symptoms?  

What about Prevention? Testing? Treatment?

Use a condom when having oral, vaginal, or anal sex to prevent you catching or passing on chlamydia.  Make sure you don’t have sex with someone who has chlamydia, even with a condom, until 7 days after they have finished their antibiotics. And, get regular STI check-ups at your doctor so you can to find out if you have chlamydia.

You can get tested at your doctor or buy a test kit. For guys testing for chlamydia is a simple urine test and for girls it’s a vaginal swab. This is pretty easy too. If you have chlamydia, your doctor will prescribe antibiotics to treat it. Chlamydia is usually cured in one dose. It’s also important to let anyone that you may have had sex with recently know, so they can be tested and treated too. This is called contact tracing. After three months, go back to the doctor to get another test to make sure you haven’t got chlamydia again.