Chlamydia

Chlamydia infections are caused by the bacteria Chlamydia Trachomatis and is sexually transmitted.

It is the most reported communicable disease in Australia, and at highest risk in sexually active people under 30.

Often is it asymptomatic in 50% of men and 75% of women, but when symptoms are present they can include;

  • Dysuria (painful or difficult urination)
  • Urethral or vaginal discharge
  • Testicular or pelvic pain
  • Anorectal symptoms
  • Intermenstrual bleeding (bleeding when your period isn’t due)
  • Post coital bleeding (vaginal bleeding after sex)

Left untreated it can cause more significant complications including;

Men

  • Epididymo-orchitis (infection of the spermatic cord and testes)

Women

  • Pelvic inflammatory disease
  • Infertility
  • Ectopic pregnancy

Both men and women

  • Reactive arthritis

How is it diagnosed?

By testing specifically for traces of the bacteria in someone either with or without symptoms. We can test this using a urine sample, throat swabs or rectal swabs.

For women the better test is an endocervical swab which is swabbing the surface of the cervix.

What do I do if I have chlamydia?

Your doctor will inform you of the results with a phone call if a follow up appointment hasn’t already been arranged.

You will be provided with antibiotics to treat the infection, and advised not to have sex with anyone for the next 7 days, even if you are using barrier protection like condoms.

Also avoid sex with any partners from the last 6 months until they have been tested and treated if necessary.

You will need to inform any partners over the last 6 months that they should get tested also.

What next?

If you had symptoms, they should have resolved. If they didn’t then it’s advised to see your doctor to check if there was treatment failure (very very rare), reinfection, or if there is another cause. Gonorrhoea is often tested at the same time.

If you’re interested in doing an STI screen, or are worried you might have symptoms book in with our doctors for an STI check. If you want to know how often you should get tested, have a look at our page on how often should I have a sexual health check for more information.

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