Chlamydia is the most common sexually transmitted infection in Australia. It is a bacterial infection which is transmitted by sex and can occur in the vagina, penis, anus and throat. If it doesn’t get treated with antibiotics, it can cause some nasty problems down the line for both men and women. The good news is, chlamydia is both really easy to test for and really easy to treat!
At any given time, about 1 in 20 people under the age of 30 will have chlamydia.
Although it’s very common in younger people, numbers are also climbing in older people especially those over 50. The reason it’s so common is because symptoms are RARE; 75% of women and 50% of men who get chlamydia have NO symptoms at all. This means that many people don’t get tested, and never find out they have it.
In some cases of chlamydial infection, women may get some funny vaginal bleeding, discharge, pain or burning with passing urine. Men can get penile pain and discharge.
If chlamydia is undiagnosed and not treated for many years it can start to cause problems. Men can get pain and inflammation of the testicles. Women have increased risk of miscarriage, and can develop “Pelvic Inflammatory Disease” which can cause pain, bleeding and infertility.
Luckily, getting tested and treated is REALLY EASY. When you do a sexually transmitted infection screen, your doctor will send you to do a urine sample which tests for chlamydia. It’s fast, discreet, and doesn’t involve any discomfort. Occasionally, a doctor may want to do a swab for testing if a person has quite bad symptoms or abnormal discharge.
If you do test positive for chlamydia, then it’s time to get treated. Chlamydia isn’t a very smart bacteria, and doesn’t have resistance to antibiotics. This means you can treat a chlamydia infection with a single tablet of antibiotics! It’s important to not have sex for 1 week after being treated so you don’t spread it to other partners, and you should get a repeat test in 3 months to make sure it’s all gone.
Finally, if you do have a positive test for chlamydia, it’s really important to let your sexual partners know so they can also get tested and treated too if needed. If you want help doing this, talk to your doctor.
- To reduce your risk of getting chlamydia, use a condom every time you have sex
- Get screened for STI’s annually, even if you have no symptoms. If you have multiple partners, it’s important to get a 3-6 monthly sexual health screen.
- Treatment is easy, fast and effective
For more information about chlamydia, testing and treatment, talk to your doctor or visit your local sexual health clinic.