5 things we wish you knew about chlamydia

posted by: Don Leslie

1. Chlamydia is more common than you’d think.

Currently around 1 in 20 young people (aged 15-24) are infected with chlamydia.

Chlamydia is the most common STI in England. 203,116 cases were seen in 2017. 57% were women.

Rates were highest among those less than 25 years of age, peaking at age 19 among women and age 20 among men.

2. Get tested regularly.

You should get tested for chlamydia every year or whenever you change sexual partner.

Only 1 in 5 young people (aged 15-24) had a test for chlamydia in Devon and Torbay last year.

Even if you feel well, you still need to get tested.  Most people with chlamydia have no symptoms.

If you are under 25, you can test yourself free of charge at home through the national chlamydia screening programme.

3. Chlamydia doesn’t just infect genitals.

It can also easily infect the throat, bum and eyes! You can pick it up from all types of sexual contact including vaginal sex, oral sex, anal sex or sharing sex toys.

Condoms reduce the chance of catching chlamydia but not many people use them for oral sex. We recommend condoms for oral sex and regular testing to prevent you catching and passing on the infection.

4. Don’t treat yourself.

There have been cases of people buying antibiotics online in order to treat themselves.  This is a bad idea.

Chlamydia is an infection and it needs proper diagnosis and treatment. If you come to one of our clinics we will test for other infections, talk through the condition, encourage you to think about partners and whether they need testing or treatment and ensure you receive the right antibiotics for the infection you have.

We are qualified experts who love our work and making people well. There is never any need to feel embarrassed about coming to see us

5. Tests are unreliable in the first 2 weeks.

Chlamydia tests can miss the infection if you have had it for less than 2 weeks. There is no harm in testing early but it is important to repeat tests for chlamydia 2 weeks after the last sex you were worried about.

If you have any symptoms at all that you’re worried about, no matter when they occur, come and see us in the clinic straight away.

More information and advice about chlamydia (including why the Koala).

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Accessing our service

In response to the emergence of COVID-19 we have implemented a telephone triage system for all of our clinics. Our central telephone number is 0300 303 3989.

We are currently experiencing high demand for our Sexual Health Services across Devon and Torbay with unprecedented demand in Exeter. Please note always review urgent cases the same day. If your need is urgent and you are struggling to reach us keep trying as our phone system will explain how to access same-day care with us.

We have updated information on the provision of routine contraception here.

Self-requested STI testing by post is available for those aged under 25- more info

We are now running an under 18’s sit and wait clinic at Exeter, Torquay, and Barnstaple for more information click here

If you are struggling to access sexual health services, alternatives may be available:

  • Emergency Contraception - from a local pharmacy - more info
  • Contraceptive pills and LARC procedures - obtained from your GP
  • HIV PEPSE - available via A+E departments - more info
  • Condoms by post (for gay and bisexual men only) - more info