Chlamydia is one of the most common sexually transmitted infections (STIs) in the UK. It's passed on from one person to another through unprotected sex (sex without a condom), as well as oral sex.
Most people with chlamydia don't notice any symptoms and don't know they have it. If you develop symptoms, you may experience:
- pain when urinating
- unusual discharge from your vagina, penis, or rectum (back passage)
- in women - pain in the tummy, bleeding during or after sex and bleeding between periods
- in men - pain and swelling in the testicles
Although chlamydia doesn’t always cause any symptoms, if left untreated, the infection can lead to long-term health problems, such as pelvic inflammatory disease (PID), epididymo-orchitis (inflammation of the testicles) and infertility.
The only way to find out if you have chlamydia is to be tested. Testing is free, easy and confidential. We recommend that each time you change your sexual partner you get tested, even if you are using condoms. We strongly advise taking a test if you are aware that a previous sexual partner may have had the infection.
If you are aged 15-24 there is a UK wide chlamydia screening programme which will invite you for regular testing.
Chlamydia testing is available from any of our walk-in and wait and appointment clinics - for men this is a simple urine test and for women usually a self-taken swab. If you fit the criteria* and are happy not to see a health professional, you may be offered a fast-track test.
All Wirral GPs also offer chlamydia testing.
Aged 16 or over?
An easier way of being tested, if you are aged 16 or over, is to request a free STI postal test kit online.
If you still have symptoms or are worried, you should:
- freephone 0300 123 5474 (8.00am - 6.00pm, Mon - Fri)
- come along to one of our walk-in and wait clinics: bit.ly/3UJsoqn
*aged 16 or over, reporting no symptoms and not a man who has sex with men.
**Our walk-in and wait clinics offer limited slots and operate on a first come first served basis. When clinics are at full capacity, patients asking to be seen will be triaged and those who fit our urgent criteria will be a priority. At busy times we may need to signpost non-urgent cases to other clinics or recommend patients make an appointment for an alternative day or suggest a return visit.
If your test is positive, we will contact you via your chosen method of communication, usually a text, asking you to call our clinic. Following a discussion with you we will make you an appointment to attend one of our clinics
Chlamydia can be treated easily with antibiotics that we provide for free.
It's important that your current partner and any other recent partners are also tested and treated - we will discuss this with you when you attend clinic and can offer to contact people on your behalf.
It's important when you receive your treatment to not have sex for 7 days, as the antibiotics need time to reach the infection. Our nurse will explain this in more detail.
You can prevent chlamydia and other STIs by:
- using male condoms or female condoms every time you have vaginal sex or male condoms during anal sex
- using a condom to cover the penis or a latex or plastic square (dam) to cover the female genitals, if you have oral sex
- not sharing sex toys or washing them and covering them with a new condom before anyone else uses them
Visit NHS Choices - chlamydia
For further advice, please take a look at the leaflets produced by The Family Planning Association.