What is Chlamydia and why is testing so important?
Chlamydia is the most common sexually transmitted infection (STI) in the UK.
Chlamydia is easily passed on from person to person from sexual contact - oral, anal or vaginal sex. You can also catch it from sharing sex toys.
The highest rates of infection are found in young people under the age of 25 years
1:14 test positive in the under 25 age group. This can be as high as 1:9 in some areas.
The condition is easy to detect and treat.
However, chlamydia is known as a silent condition – 80% of women and 50% of men have no signs or symptoms of the condition. Therefore if you don’t test, you probably won’t know you’ve got it.
When left untreated, chlamydia can have serious side effects. These include Pelvic Inflammatory Disease, Infertility, Ectopic Pregnancy, Testicular Pain and Neonatal Infection.
Who can get tested under NCSP?
Sexually active young people under 25 years of age and their partners (whatever the age of the partner)
How often should I test?
Test at least once a year AND on every change of partner, even if you only have sexual contact with them once.
How to test if under 25 years of age
Testing for Chlamydia is easy!
If you have no symptoms and simply want a Chlamydia test you can;
- Visit a GUM / Contraception clinic and request a test. You do not need an examination if you don’t have any symptoms.
- Pick up a testing kit from a local pharmacy
- You can get chlamydia kits from any pharmacy displaying this poster.
- Have a testing kit sent to you in the post so you can do the test at home. Just go https://www.freetest.me to order a test kit.
- You can pick up a test at your school or college. Just ask the school nurse.
- If you attend a youth club, you may be able to access a chlamydia kit there.
To test for Chlamydia women usually do a self-taken swab from the vagina using a cotton bud and men provide a urine sample - it’s that easy!
Had a positive test and need treatment?
If you have a positive test for Chlamydia, one of the clinic nurses will call and speak to you about your result.
You can then arrange to visit one of the clinics to collect some treatment.
Treatment is FREE and very effective in treating the infection, as long as it's taken correctly.
When you attend the clinic we'll talk you through how to take the treatment and answer any questions you may have.
It's really important that you don't have sex for 7 days after taking your treatment - it can take that long for the treatment to work and it's important not to pass it on to anyone else during this time.
We'll also talk with you about getting your partner treated too - you don't want to be reinfected!
We'll also talk with you about contacting other people you have had sex with recently. We know that sometimes it can be hard trying to get hold of people - either because you might not have their details or because you don't want to have to get in touch with an ex.
We can talk with you about ways we can help with this if you think this may be difficult for you - we can sometimes contact people in a confidential way to try and help them get treatment. Let us know if you need our help.
Can I reduce the risk of getting chlamydia?
Using condoms reduces the risk of catching Chlamydia. Also asking sexual partners when they last had a sexual health check-up is a good thing to do - if they haven't been tested recently it may be worth waiting until they have been tested, before having sex with them, or continue to use condoms until they have their result back.