Chlamydia (pronounced Kla-mid-e-a). It is estimated that 1 in every 10 sexually active young people have Chlamydia, and many don’t even know it.
Chlamydia is a bacterial infection and it is the most common STI in young people. In men, chlamydia may cause infection of the urethra, resulting in pain on passing urine, tenderness / swelling in testicles, and fever. Chlamydia in men can lead to infertility. In women, it can cause Pelvic Inflammatory Disease which can lead to ectopic pregnancy or even infertility as it blocks the fallopian tubes. Chlamydia can also lead to reactive arthritis-especially in young men. 1 in 3 men who develop reactive arthritis become permanently disabled. It can also affect babies and is the most common cause of eye infections in newborns.
You can pass it on to your partner for as long as it hasn’t been treated. Infections can linger for many years without causing any symptoms. Also you can get infected over and over again…
How do I know if I’ve got it?
In a small number of cases there will be symptoms 5-10 days after the infection has been caught, (look for discharge and pain). Some symptoms may include discharge (thick fluid from the vagina or penis), pain or burning feeling when having a wee, possible blood loss from the vagina, pain during sex, stomach pain, feeling sick, swelling of testicles.
How do you get it?
It’s passed on through having unprotected vaginal sex, oral sex or anal sex, (sex without a condom) with a person infected. It can also be passed on by sharing sex toys. A mother can pass it to her unborn child and although it’s not likely, it can be passed on through oral sex and from the hand to the eye.
Can I get rid of it?
Yes. Even though it’s a really serious infection, and can cause so many problems – it can be cured quite easily through a course of antibiotics from your doctor, Community Sexual Clinic or the Chlamydia Screening Team.
The antibiotics used to treat Chlamydia are specifically for this infection so don’t be mistaken for thinking that you can be treated for Chlamydia if you are taking antibiotics for another health problem. The most important thing is to get treated quickly. If you have been treated successfully, Chlamydia can only come back if you have unprotected sex with someone who has the infection. This means that it is really important that your partner (or anybody else you’ve recently slept with) get’s treated too or it will be passed on to others and you may get infected again. The Sexual Health Clinic staff will carry out any contact tracing for you.
Chlamydia Screening Programme in Widnes
The local Chlamydia Screening Programme Team offer free, confidential testing for Chlamydia and Gonorrhoea. The reason for ‘dual testing’ is because many people who are infected with one of these infections is also at a higher risk of having the other aswell.
- Men and women under the age of 24yrs can get tested from this team.
- The test is very straightforward – a simple urine test of self-taken swab. Results are usually back 7 – 10 days later.
- Treatment for Chlamydia infection is easy – antibiotics will be provided by the nurse. Testing is provided in many locations, imcluding colleges, schools and Contraception & Sexual Health Clinics.
- Postal kits are also available so you can take it away and do it yourself if you prefer.
Approximately 1 in 10 young people have Chlamydia and will probably be unaware that they have it. It is important that you get checked if you have ever had any kind of unprotected sexual intercourse. This will prevent health complications such as infertility and Pelvic Inflammatory Disease.
Rashes, sores, burning, smelling, itching and generally feeling unwell are some symptoms that you may have an STI. BUT most people don’t have any signs or symptoms that they have an STI so always get checked!