What is chlamydia?

Chlamydia is a common, sexually transmitted infection (STI) caused by bacteria called Chlamydia trachomatis.

How do I get chlamydia?

You can get chlamydia if you do not use a condom when you have vaginal, anal or oral sex with a person who has chlamydia. You cannot get chlamydia from public toilets, public pools or general contact with other people.

What does chlamydia do to the body?

For men

  • Men get chlamydia in the urethra (inside the penis), rectum, or throat.
  • Chlamydia causes pain and swelling in men’s testicles and can infect the tube that carries sperm.

For women

  • Women get chlamydia in the cervix, rectum, or throat. If it is not treated, chlamydia can stop a woman being able to have babies.
  • Women with chlamydia can sometimes pass chlamydia on to a baby during childbirth. This can give babies lung or eye infections.

How do I know if I have chlamydia?

Most people don’t know they have chlamydia because they don’t have any signs or symptoms.

A quick and easy test of your urine (pee) will tell you if you have chlamydia. You can also do the chlamydia test yourself.

For men:

Signs and symptoms of chlamydia for men include:

  • redness or pain at the opening of the penis
  • stinging or burning when passing urine (peeing)
  • clear discharge from the penis.

For women:

Signs and symptoms for women include:

  • unusual vaginal discharge
  • irregular bleeding (especially after sex)
  • pelvic pain, including during sex
  • stinging or burning when passing urine (peeing)

What do I do if I have chlamydia?

Get medicine from your doctor.

Tell your sex partners that you have chlamydia and ask them to get tested.

Your sex partners could also have chlamydia and can give it to you again. They can also give chlamydia to other people.

If your sex partner will not get a chlamydia test, ask your doctor for extra chlamydia medicine for them. After three months, you and anyone that you have sex with should get tested for chlamydia again.

Can chlamydia be treated or cured?

Yes. Chlamydia is easy to treat and cure with just one tablet.

If chlamydia is found later, it will take longer to be treated and cured.

Don’t have sex for a week after taking your chlamydia medicine.

You can get chlamydia again even if you have had it before.

How can I protect myself from getting chlamydia?

  • Get yourself and your sex partner tested. Get tested regularly if you have more than one sex partner or if your partner has sex with other people. The risk of getting chlamydia is higher the more sex partners you have.
  • Get treated: Ask your partners to get tested and treated too so you don’t keep giving it to each other or other people.
  • Use condoms during vaginal, anal or oral sex.
  • Talk to new partners about using condoms before you have sex.

How can I make sure I don’t give chlamydia to someone else?

  • Use condoms every time you have sex, especially if you have sex with a new partner.
  • Get tested regularly if you have more than one sexual partner or your partner has sex with other people. You can get chlamydia again even if you have had it before.

Where can I get help and advice?

You can get help from:

  • a doctor
  • a sexual health clinic
  • community health service
  • family planning centres

More information