WHAT IS CHLAMYDIA?
Chlamydia is a common sexually transmissible infection (STI) which is caused by a bacterium called chlamydia trachomatis.
It is the most common bacterial STI in young people in Australia. Chlamydia is easy to catch, easy to test, and easy to treat.
If chlamydia is left undetected and untreated it can cause serious health problems, this includes Pelvic Inflammatory Disease (PID) which is infection of the uterus and fallopian tubes. PID may lead to infertility and chronic pelvic pain.
Chlamydia can also effect fertility in men.
WHAT ARE THE SYMPTOMS?
Most people have no symptoms, however, if symptoms do occur they include the following:
Possible female symptoms
- Unusual vaginal bleeding (between periods or after sex)
- Unusual vaginal discharge
- Pelvic pain and/or pain during sex
- Pain or burning passing urine
Possible male symptoms
- A discharge from the penis (often clear)
- Burning or stinging when passing urine
- Redness at the tip of the penis
- Testicular pain
HOW DO YOU GET CHLAMYDIA?
Chlamydia is transmitted by vaginal or anal sex. It is rarely transmitted through oral sex.
HOW DO YOU TEST FOR CHLAMYDIA?
The test for chlamydia is a urine test for men, and a self-inserted vaginal swab or urine test for women. If you are having anal sex a self-inserted anal swab may also be required.
WHEN SHOULD YOU HAVE A CHLAMYDIA TEST?
You should have a chlamydia test if:
- You have ever had unprotected sex
- You have had a new sexual partner since your last chlamydia test
- You have a sexual partner who has been diagnosed as having chlamydia or another STI
- Your sexual partner has had sex with a person who could be infected with chlamydia
- You have been diagnosed as having another STI
- You have any signs or symptoms
HOW DO YOU TREAT CHLAMYDIA?
Chlamydia is treated with oral antibiotics. If you have symptoms a longer course or different antibiotics may be needed.
HOW LONG AFTER TREATMENT DO THE SYMPTOMS GO AWAY?
If you have symptoms they should start to go away within a few days of starting antibiotic treatment.
WHEN IS IT SAFE TO HAVE SEX AGAIN?
It is very important that not have any sex until a week after you finish your treatment. If your partner has been treated then you mustn’t have sex with that partner until a week after their treatment has finished.
DO I NEED TO BE TESTED AGAIN?
Yes, it is advised that you have a test of re-infection three months later.
HOW DO I PROTECT MYSELF FROM CHLAMYDIA?
The best way to protect yourself from chlamydia infection is to always use a condom when having sex.
To fully protect yourself it is very important to use the condom for the whole time that you have sex to avoid any sharing of any body fluids.
Sex toys also need to be washed or a condom used to cover them before sharing between partners.
DO I NEED TO TELL MY SEXUAL PARTNERS?
Yes, it is very important that you tell any sexual partners that you have had in the last 6 months so that they can be tested and treated. This is usually best done directly, either in person, phone call or text message. If this is too difficult then there are websites that allow you to anonymously notify someone that they have been exposed to an STI. These are:
LET THEM KNOW
letthemknow.org.au this website if available for anyone to use.
DRAMA DOWN UNDER
thedramadownunder.info this website is specifically for gay men, or men with male sexual partners, and allows you to contact several people in one go.
WHERE TO GO FOR INFORMATION AND TESTING
Sexual Health & Family Planning ACT (SHFPACT)
Call us or an appointment or more details 02 6247 3077
Canberra Sexual Health Centre (Canberra Hospital)
Call 02 6244 2184 or visit health.act.gov.au/sexualhealth
Your own GP or local Health Centre.
CHLAMYDIA BROCHURE PDF
Last updated January 2019