Treating chlamydia 

Chlamydia is usually treated with antibiotics. Antibiotics are very effective for treating chlamydia. More than 95 out of 100 people with chlamydia will be cured if they take their antibiotics correctly.

The two most commonly prescribed antibiotics to treat chlamydia are: 

Your doctor may give you different antibiotics if you have an allergy, or are pregnant. A longer course of antibiotics may be used if your doctor is concerned about complications of chlamydia. Other common antibiotics are ofloxacin and erythromycin.

If there is a high chance you have been infected with chlamydia (for example, your partner has been diagnosed with chlamydia and you have had unprotected sex with them) you might be started on treatment before you get your test results.

Pregnant or breastfeeding

Tell your doctor if you are pregnant or breastfeeding, as this will affect the type of antibiotic you can be given. Azithromycin, amoxicillin and erythromycin are all safe for pregnant women to take.

Antibiotics and contraception

Most antibiotics are safe to use with contraception. If you vomit or have severe diarrhoea they may be less effective and put you at risk of pregnancy, especially if you have unprotected sex. 

Read Will antibiotics stop my contraception working? for more information.

Talk to your doctor, sexual health adviser or pharmacist about whether the antibiotics you are given might affect your contraception.

Having sex again

You should not have sex for at least one week after you have finished your antibiotic treatment. You may need to avoid having sex for longer if your sexual partner has not been treated so that you do not become re-infected. You should also avoid having sex until your symptoms have gone.

Side effects of chlamydia treatment

The side effects of antibiotics are usually mild. The most common side effects include: 

  • stomach pain
  • diarrhoea
  • feeling sick
  • vaginal thrush (vaginal yeast infection, also called candida)

Occasionally, doxycycline can cause a skin rash if you are exposed to too much sunlight (photosensitivity).

Treatment for sexual partners

If you test positive for chlamydia, it's important that your current sexual partner and any other recent sexual partners are also tested and treated.

In the UK, it's advised that you contact any sexual partners you've had within the past six months.

A specialist sexual health adviser can help you to contact all your sexual partners. Sexual health clinics or GUM clinics can contact your sexual partners for you if you prefer. Either you or the clinic can speak to them, or can send them a note (called a contact slip) to let them know that they may have been exposed to a sexually transmitted infection (STI). The note will suggest that they go for a check-up. The note will not have your name on it, and it may or may not say what the infection is. Your confidentiality will be protected.

Find out more about:

Do I need another test to check chlamydia has gone?

If you take all your antibiotics correctly then you should not need a follow-up test. The doctor or nurse will advise you to have a repeat test if:

  • you were treated for chlamydia and you are pregnant
  • you forgot to take any of your medication or did not take it properly
  • you had sex before you and your partner had finished treatment
  • your symptoms have not gone or if they have come back

Page last reviewed: 28/08/2013

Next review due: 28/08/2015