Where does Chlamydia come from?
It can be easily passed on through Vaginal, Anal and, perhaps, Oral sex. There is no evidence to show that it can be passed on from toilet seats, sharing towels or cups. An infected mother can pass it on to her baby’s eyes and lungs at birth. It can also be spread from Genitals to eyes with your fingers. Using a condom will greatly reduce your chances of becoming infected with chlamydia.
What is Chlamydia?
Chlamydia (trachomatis) is a very common infection affecting both men and women. It is passed on through sexual contact and can go undetected for a very long time. Some other types of chlamydia can cause chest and eye Infections and are not passed on sexually.
How do I know if I have Chlamydia?
Many people who have chlamydia do not have any symptoms, so it is possible to have this infection and still feel well. The simple answer is to have a test. It is estimated that one in ten young people who are sexually active could have chlamydia.
What are the symptoms?
Men – Approximately 50% of men have no symptoms, but those who do may have:
- pain or discomfort when passing urine
- Discharge or pus from the end of the Penis
- discomfort or swelling in the testicles
Women - Approximately 70% of women have no symptoms, but some may have:
- a vaginal discharge
- pain or discomfort when passing urine or during Sex
- bleeding between periods or after sex
The symptoms may appear after having sex with a new partner. But remember, if you have no symptoms chlamydia can go undetected for a long time.
Where can I get the test?
Your own GP should be able to discuss a chlamydia test with you, and if you choose to be tested, your GP can arrange this. Another option is to contact your local sexual health service. They will be able to offer you a full sexual health screen to detect other infections as well as chlamydia. To make an appointment call 0300 303 0251 (Line open Monday to Friday 9.00 a.m. to 4.45 p.m.)
Important notice re Postal Testing Kits : NHS Lanarkshire Sexual Health Service has taken the decision not to issue any more Postal Testing Kits for Chlamydia until further notice. Should you wish to be tested for Chlamydia or any other sexually transmitted infection, we would ask that you click here where you can access all Sexual Health Services across Lanarkshire (please note there are some clinics across Lanarkshire which offer drop in services) or alternatively you can phone our Appointment Line on 0300 303 0251 (lines are open Monday to Friday 9.00 a.m. to 4.45 p.m.). We apologise for any inconvenience that this may cause you.
What does the test involve?
Chlamydia can be tested from a urine sample in men or a self taken low vaginal swab in women. For women who are having a Genital examination, the test can also be taken on a fine cotton-tipped swab from the Cervix (neck of the womb). Cervical smear tests, which women have regularly (throughout their Reproductive years) are taken to check for precancerous changes – BUT chlamydia testing is not part of this test.
Can Chlamydia be treated?
The good news is that chlamydia is usually easy to treat with an antibiotic. As with other infections treatment is most effective when the full course of antibiotics is completed.
If you do have chlamydia, it is important that you:
- come back and see the doctor or health adviser for a follow-up visit to check that the treatment has worked
- remember that your partner will also need to be tested and will require treatment too, otherwise your partner can infect you again
- avoid having sex until you and your partner get the ‘all clear’
- when you are taking the treatment for chlamydia, it is a good idea to tell the doctor if you are taking the contraceptive pill or if you are pregnant.
What will happen if Chlamydia isn’t treated?
The symptoms may go away after a few days but chlamydia itself will not go without treatment. If you are not treated, you can pass it on to other sexual partners and cause complications for yourself. In women, it can cause painful symptoms, including abdominal pain and may affect your chances of having children in the future. In men, it can cause painful testicles and occasional joint pain.
How can I best prevent infection?
The best way to prevent all sexually acquired infections, including HIV, is to practise safer sex. This means always using a condom for vaginal, anal or oral sex, or trying non-penetrative sex like massage or mutual masturbation instead.
You can also now access Chlamydia testing at a number of chemists across Lanarkshire. To see which chemists are participating go to the Emergency Contraception Section.
NHS Health Scotland have produced an information leaflet on Chlamydia which can be accessed by going to : http://www.healthscotland.com/documents/5768.aspx