Sexual Health

STI & STD Lowdown: What Is Chlamydia?

Chlamydia is a very common STI, which very often doesn’t have any symptoms. It is estimated that around 10% of 16-24 year olds who have sex, have also chlamydia. Fortunately, chlamydia tests and treatments are easy and confidential.

How can you get it?

You can only get chlamydia from having sex with somebody who is infected. It is very infectious and easy to catch, especially when having sex without condoms, but also from oral and anal sex and even when sharing sex toys. The germs are present in the semen and vaginal juices.

How do you know you have it?

The only reliable way to know for sure is to get checked. This is because, as with most STIs, it often doesn’t have any symptoms. However, sometimes when there are symptoms they might include (but can be signs of other things as well):

For women:

– Unusual colour, smell or amount of vaginal discharge

– Bleeding between periods

– Pain in the lower stomach

For men:

– Any discharge from the penis (which isn’t cum, pre-cum or pee)

– Painfully swollen testicles

For both:

– Pain whilst peeing

– Painful sex

How can you get tested?

Fortunately, it is now very easy to get tested for chlamydia. Many clinics are even able to send out free chlamydia testing kits directly to your house. You can also visit your college’s health unit as most colleges now offer free STI tests.

For men the test includes a urine test, for women it needs a sample from inside your vagina.

How is chlamydia treated?

It is easily treated with antibiotics, usually for up to a week. It is also important to let the person you had sex with know that you have it so that they can get tested as well.

When chlamydia is untreated for a long time, it can lead to long term health problems, mainly Pelvic Inflammatory Disease, which can cause fertility problems and problematic pregnancies.

How can I avoid it?

– Always use a condom for vaginal, anal and oral sex.

– Only having penetrative sex with somebody you know has gotten checked up and is ‘all clear’.

– Avoid sharing sex toys.

If you want to get yourself or your partner tested, you can get 25% off a home STI test kit with 

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