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

The National Chlamydia Screening Programme (NCSP) is changing to focus on reducing reproductive harm of untreated infection in women and other people with a womb or ovaries who are under 25 years of age including: transgender men, non-binary people assigned female at birth and intersex people with a womb or ovaries.

Everyone can still access chlamydia testing, but access to NCSP online postal testing kits is changing.

If you live in Buckinghamshire, Cambridgeshire, Peterborough and Suffolk

Young women and other people with a womb or ovaries (aged 16 to 24)

All young people (aged 16 to 24) can continue to order a free NCSP postal testing kit or collect one at a participating pickup point.

If you live in Bedford, Central Bedfordshire, Milton Keynes or Norfolk

Young women and other people with a womb or ovaries (aged 16 to 24) can continue to order a free NCSP postal testing kit.

Young men and other people with penis or external genitals (aged 16 to 24) can order a free chlamydia postal testing kit from iCaSH.

All young people (aged 16 to 24) can collect a free postal kit at a participating pickup point.

If you live elsewhere

You may be eligible to order a free chlamydia postal testing kit from freetest.me. You can also ask for a test at your GP or local sexual health clinic.

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