Did you know that Chlamydia is the most common STI in the UK? Not many people do – but although many people will not show symptoms, contracting the disease can create serious health problems in the future.
How could I get Chlamydia?
Chlamydia is a bacterial infection transmitted through unprotected sexual contact – most often among young people and teenagers. The NHS recommends that if you are sexually active and under 25, you should get tested for Chlamydia every year, or after a change of partners. You can get a free, confidential test from any GP or GUM clinic.
What are the symptoms?
Many people do not display any symptoms, but you may experience the following:
- Pain when urinating
- Discharge from vagina, penis or rectum
- If you’re a woman – abdominal pain, or bleeding after sex or between periods
- If you’re a man – swollen and painful testicles
What health problems can Chlamydia cause?
If left untreated, Chlamydia can cause:
- Pelvic inflammatory disease
- Inflammation of the testicles
- Reactive arthritis
How to protect yourself
Apart from abstinence, the best ways of protecting yourself are to use a condom, and to make sure sex toys are not shared – or if they are, they are washed thoroughly before each use.
How do you treat Chlamydia?
Chlamydia is treated with a course of antibiotics, sometimes over one day, sometimes over a week. You should not have sex until the course is finished, and current and previous partners should also be tested/treated.
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