The main points
- Chlamydia can infect the cervix (top part of vagina), urethra (where urine comes out) and rectum (anal passage).
- Most people infected with Chlamydia have no symptoms at all.
- Chlamydia responds effectively and quickly to a single dose of antibiotics
What is it?
Chlamydia is a common infection. It can infect the cervix (top part of vagina), urethra (where urine comes out) and rectum (anal passage). It mostly affects young people.
How do you get it?
Chlamydia is passed on through sex whether your partner is the same sex as you or a different sex. It is usually passed directly from an infected area. It can also sometimes be passed on through fluid from an infected area by fingers or sharing sex toys.
How do I know I have it?
Most people infected with Chlamydia have no symptoms at all.
If there are symptoms, you might notice:
- a change in vaginal discharge (sticky fluid that comes from the vagina)
- irregular bleeding from the vagina (especially after sex)
- stinging or burning when passing urine
- redness at the opening of the penis
- a clear or slightly cloudy discharge from the penis
- pelvic (tummy) pain, including during sex
- a fever
Chlamydia can also infect the rectum (anal passage) and cause discharge and pain.
What does a test involve?
Yearly testing is recommended for people aged under 30 years who have had sex. More frequent testing is recommended in people at higher risk of STIs (sexually transmissible infections) such as men who have sex with men.
Testing for Chlamydia is easy. Usually, all you need to do is pee in a jar. People who have anal sex will usually need a swab test from the rectum (usually self-collected) and also be asked to pee into a jar.
What will happen if it’s not treated?
Untreated Chlamydia may cause
- Pelvic inflammatory disease (an infection of the womb and tubes) that can cause fertility problems
- pain and swelling of the testicles
- a dull pain in the pelvis.
How is Chlamydia treated?
Chlamydia responds effectively and quickly to a single dose of antibiotics. If you have symptoms and the doctor thinks they are most likely to be caused by Chlamydia, you may be offered treatment before your test results come back.
If I have Chlamydia should my partner/s be treated?
Chlamydia is very infectious. If you have Chlamydia there is a high chance your partner(s) has it too. All your current sexual partners should be tested and treated. Avoid unprotected sex for seven days after treatment to give it time to work. You also need to wait until your current partner/s is at least seven days past their treatment too, otherwise, you can pass it back to each other.
It is recommended that you tell everyone you have had sex with in the last 6 months so they can be tested and offered treatment.
There are some great websites to help you tell your partners:
Will Chlamydia come back?
Chlamydia is cured by effective treatment, but you don’t develop any immunity. It’s always possible to get another chlamydia infection.
How can I avoid Chlamydia?
Use condoms every time you have vaginal or anal sex. Talk to your partner about a Chlamydia screen.
Where to get more information, support or advice
- Contact your local doctor (GP)
- Contact Family Planning Victoria's clinics
- Visit Melbourne Sexual Health Centre
- Visit The Royal Women's Hospital