Chlamydia

Chlamydia is the UK's most common sexually transmitted infection. Find out how to get tested.

What is Chlamydia?

Chlamydia is the most common sexually transmitted infection (STIs) in the UK and affects both males and females. One in 10 sexually active young people has the infection.

You could have chlamydia without knowing and if left untreated it can lead to serious long-term health problems.

Chlamydia is simple to test for and can be treated with antibiotics.

What are the symptoms?

You might not know you are infected because it often doesn’t display any symptoms. But if left untreated it can cause serious problems in both men and women. Testing for it is quick and painless, and it can be treated with a course of antibiotics.

Symptoms might show within one to three weeks of infection, but around half of men and most women have no symptoms.

How is chlamydia transmitted?

You can get chlamydia through:

  • vaginal, oral or anal sex without condoms
  • sharing sex toys
  • genital contact
  • semen or vaginal fluid getting in your eye.

It’s not yet known whether chlamydia is spread on fingers when you touch an infected part of the body and then touch other parts of your body or someone else’s.

Testing

You can order a free test kit through the post or collect one at a participating C-Card pickup point.

You can also get tested by a professional at a sexual health clicnic.

All chlamydia tests are simple and painless.

A sample of cells can be collected for testing in two ways.

  • Giving a sample of urine.
  • Gently wiping a swab (small cotton bud) over the area that might be infected.

Swabs only take a few seconds and don’t hurt – they may be uncomfortable for a moment or two.

You can order a free postal chlamydia test (this will take you off-site). Note that some areas may not be covered.

You can read more about chlamydia on Terrence Higgins Trust’s website.