Chlamydia is one of the most prevalent STIs in the UK and is extremely easily spread. Everyone who is sexually active is at risk of contracting the infection, although it tends to be more common in men and women in their late teens and early twenties. The Chlamydia trachomatis bacterium that causes the infection has the potential to spread from genital tracts to other parts of the body if it’s left untreated for too long, posing a risk of irreparable damage to the male and female reproductive organs.
How common is it?
Chlamydia is not just common in the UK, but also one of the most common STIs in the world. Experts believe that the widespread presence of this STI is due to the fact that it doesn’t often cause a person to experience symptoms and even if they do, they can easily be confused with other sexually transmitted infections.
It’s also believed that the overall increase in sexually transmitted infections over the last ten years has been the result of people being more inclined to take part in unprotected sexual intercourse.
How do you get it?
Chlamydia is classed as a sexually transmitted infection because it can spread through sexual contact. This term doesn’t just imply penetrative vaginal sex, but also anal and oral sex. It’s also possible for the bacteria to cause an eye infection if it manages to come in contact with it.
Apart from sexual contact, it can also spread from a mother to her child during when they the child is born.
How is it diagnosed?
The early stages of an infection are when people are most prone to experience symptoms; however, this is rare. If symptoms do develop, they tend to be quite mild and will go away quickly, making it easy to assume that it was just a general infection or that the infection is no longer there. This is why the only way to conclusively know whether you have a chlamydia infection is to get a chlamydia test, which will require you to provide a swab of the infected area or a urine sample for analysis .
Chlamydia symptoms may include mild irritation of the head of the penis in men, as well as a discharge, while women may experience abdominal pain, cystitis and a vaginal discharge. If the infection has managed to progress further into the reproductive organs, your symptoms may become more pronounced, including swelling of the testicles in men or abdominal pain in women. In these cases, it’s important to seek help straight away.
If you think that you may have contracted Chlamydia or you are sexually active and you’ve never been for an STI test, it might be worth getting tested. The STI Clinic provides a discreet online service and only supplies tests that are analysed in an actual laboratory, exactly like the one that would be used by your doctor to determine a diagnosis.
Simply complete your order online and wait for your test kit to arrive in the post. Collect a sample at home, follow the instructions provided and send it back to the laboratory for analysis.
Can chlamydia be cured?
Chlamydia is completely curable and can be treated with a number of antibiotic medications. Common treatments include Doxycycline or Azithromycin, both proven to treat Chlamydia. Most people manage to recover completely after just a single course of Doxycycline or Azithromycin; however, after treatment, another chlamydia test should be done to ensure that the infection has been taken care of completely.