Chlamydia is the most common sexually transmitted infection (STI) in the UK. An expert gives advice on who's at risk, where to get tested and what the treatment involves.

Media last reviewed: 21/10/2013

Next review due: 21/10/2015

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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).

In 2012, 206,912 people tested positive for chlamydia in England. 64% of people diagnosed with chlamydia were under 25 years old.

Read more information about the causes of chlamydia.

Chlamydia symptoms

Most people who have chlamydia don’t notice any symptoms, and so don't know they have it. Research suggests that 50% of men and 70-80% of women don't get symptoms at all with a chlamydia infection. 

Symptoms of chlamydia could be pain when you urinate (pee), unusual discharge from the penis, vagina or rectum or, in women, bleeding between periods or after sex.

Read more information about chlamydia symptoms.

Getting tested for chlamydia

Testing for chlamydia is done with a urine test or a swab test. You don't always have to have a physical examination by a nurse or doctor.

Anyone can get a free and confidential chlamydia test at a sexual health clinic, a GUM (genitourinary medicine) clinic or a GP surgery. Find out more about getting a chlamydia test.

People under 25 years old can also get tested by the National Chlamydia Screening Programme (NCSP). This is often in places such as pharmacies, contraception clinics or colleges.

You can also buy chlamydia testing kits to do at home, however, the accuracy of these tests varies. If you use one of these tests, talk to your pharmacist or GP.

Read more information about diagnosing chlamydia.

Treating chlamydia

Chlamydia is easily treated with antibiotics. You may be given a single dose, or a longer course of antibiotics to take for a week.

Read more information about treating chlamydia.

If chlamydia isn’t treated, the infection can sometimes spread to other parts of your body and lead to serious long-term health problems such as pelvic inflammatory disease and infertility (not being able to have children).

Read more information about complications of chlamydia.

The National Chlamydia Screening Programme

Chlamydia is most common in people under 25 years old, although people of any age can get it. If you are under 25, you can get a free, confidential chlamydia test under the National Chlamydia Screening Programme (NCSP). This offers tests in various places, including some pharmacies. Find your nearest NCSP testing site.

Some NCSP areas may also send chlamydia testing kits to you through the post. You can request these online. Find out about free online chlamydia tests for under 25s.

Find out answers to some common questions about chlamydia:

Page last reviewed: 28/08/2013

Next review due: 28/08/2015


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The 3 comments posted are personal views. Any information they give has not been checked and may not be accurate.

amesx said on 13 May 2012

I tested positive for chlamydia I had treatment (4 antibiotics) I had sex with my partner the same day so I went and got more treatment (he never) I got more treatment (the week course of antibiotics) I had sex with my partner 2 days after I finished the course, will I be ok? Should I take another chlamydia test?

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Sadia Miah 90 said on 03 February 2012

I had unprotected sex with my partner who later on got told he had chlamydia from a previous parter, we had the treatment of 4 antibiotics at the same time and got told not to have sex for a week. Would becoming aroused and/or having "dry sex" fully clothed effect the treatment?

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pipppaaa said on 27 March 2010

i would recommend anybody that has had unprotected sex to have a chlamydia test. i had one and it came back positive and i had no symptoms whatsoever. i was scared at first but when it was over with i had nothing to worry about. i had treatment for it which were 4 anti-biotics that i took all at once and that was it :)

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