Will I be tested for chlamydia during my smear test?

No. Smear tests (cervical screening) don’t include tests for chlamydia.

Cervical screening

Cervical screening tests help to prevent cervical cancer by checking the health of your cervix (neck of the womb) and detecting abnormal cells.

The tests do not include tests for chlamydia or other sexually transmitted infections (STIs), such as gonorrhoea.

If you want to be tested for chlamydia when you go for your smear test, ask your doctor or nurse.

Who should have a chlamydia test?

If you’re a sexually active and under 25, the National Chlamydia Screening Programme (NCSP) recommends you should be tested for chlamydia each year, or when you change your sexual partner. Regardless of age, you also should get tested for chlamydia if:

  • you or your partner think you have any symptoms
  • you have had unprotected sex with a new partner

Read more information about when to get tested for chlamydia.

Where to get a chlamydia test

You can get a free chlamydia test at:

  • your GP surgery
  • a sexual health or GUM (genitourinary medicine) clinic
  • a contraceptive and young people’s clinic

If you go to a clinic, your records will be kept there and the information won’t be shared with your GP unless you give your permission. Your visit is completely confidential.

You can also buy a chlamydia test from a pharmacy to use at home.

Testing for chlamydia

There are two ways of testing for chlamydia in women:

  • using a urine sample
  • by taking a swab of cells from the cervix or inside the vagina

A swab looks like a cotton bud, but the head is smaller and rounder, and on a longer stick.

In men, chlamydia tests are done with a urine sample.

Symptoms of chlamydia

Chlamydia does not always cause symptoms, so you may not know you have it. In women, symptoms of chlamydia can include:

  • cystitis (pain when passing urine)
  • a change in your vaginal discharge
  • lower abdominal pain
  • pain or bleeding during sex
  • bleeding after sex
  • bleeding between periods or heavier periods

Read more about the symptoms of chlamydia.

Treating chlamydia

If you think you or your partner may have chlamydia, it’s important to get medical advice so the infection can be treated with antibiotics.

If chlamydia is not treated, it can spread to other parts of the body and cause long-term health problems, such as infertility (being unable to have children).

Read more information about treating chlamydia and preventing chlamydia.

Read the answers to more questions about sexual health.

Further information:

Page last reviewed: 24/03/2014

Next review due: 24/03/2016