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 the Service during the COVID crisis

How to access the service:

We have now implemented a telephone triage system for all of our clinics. This system will be in place for the duration of the pandemic. Please contact our services to access this triage system. Our central telephone number is 0300 303 3989.

If you are experiencing symptoms of Coronavirus please do not attend the clinic. Clear advice for people with early symptoms of coronavirus is available online at nhs.uk/coronavirus .

Please be aware that we may have to cancel, rearrange or shut clinical services in response to changing clinical and staffing pressures created by the Coronavirus outbreak. 

Advice from our service:

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

Information is now also available to advise on sexual contact during a time of social distancing here.

There is also specific advice on coronavirus available for People Living with HIV here, and for pregnant women here

Self-requested Sexual Health screening by post is available for for under 25s only - more info here

For others with testing requirements please contact the service on 0300 303 3989.

Alternative provision:

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

  • Emergency Contraception - at your local pharmacy - more info
  • Contraceptive pills - obtained from your GP
  • HIV postal testing - available to at-risk groups for a small fee -  more info
  • HIV PEPSE - available via A+E departments - more info
  • Condoms by post (for gay and bisexual men only) - more info