Chlamydia is a sexually transmissible infection. Many people who are infected do not have symptoms of infection but can still spread the disease. Chlamydia can lead to infertility, and other complications if not treated.
Chlamydia is a sexually transmissible infection. It is caused by bacteria called Chlamydia trachomatis. Many people who are infected with the bacteria do not have symptoms but can still transmit it. Chlamydia can affect the urethra (the urine passage), cervix (the neck of the womb), rectum, anus, throat, and eyes. If chlamydia is not properly treated it can cause serious complications.
In women complications include:
In men complications include:
In women and men complications include:
Symptoms can occur within 2-14 days after infection. However, a person may have chlamydia for months, or even years, without knowing it.
If a woman has chlamydia, she may notice:
If a man has chlamydia, he may notice:
Infection of the anus can occur but usually goes unnoticed. Occasionally it can cause anal pain or discharge.
Chlamydia is spread by having vaginal, anal or oral sex with someone who has the infection. Chlamydia can be transmitted even when there are no noticeable symptoms.
If a mother has chlamydia, her baby can become infected during birth.
The people who are most at risk of catching chlamydia are:
If you have symptoms you need to get a sexual health check as soon as possible so that you can be treated, if needed. Even if you don't have symptoms but have been having unsafe sex, it is still important to have a sexual health check from time to time, to find and treat any infections and to prevent spread to other people. People can be infected with several different sexually transmissible infections at the same time. Having a sexually transmissible infection makes it easier to pick up a new HIV infection. For people who are HIV positive, having a sexually transmissible infection makes it easier to pass on HIV to sexual partners.
More information about sexual health checks can be found at Sexual Health Check-up.
Using a condom correctly for vaginal or anal sex can significantly reduce the risk of getting chlamydia and other sexually transmitted infections. Always use condoms with new or casual partners.
You should not have sex with anyone who has been diagnosed with chlamydia, even using a condom, until 7 days after treatment is completed.
If you have chlamydia you should tell all your sexual partner/s. They may also have the infection and telling them allows them to be tested and treated so they don't spread the infection to others. Your doctor can help you decide who may be at risk and help you to contact them either personally or anonymously. The website Let Them Know also provides advice and assistance in contacting partners.
If you are treated for chlamydia but your sexual partner is not, you could be re-infected.
Chlamydia can be diagnosed by your local doctor or sexual health clinic. The doctor will take a urine sample which will be sent to a laboratory for testing. You should not pass urine for an hour before the test.
Chlamydia is easily cured by a single dose of antibiotics (called azithromycin). It is important to see your doctor or sexual health clinic to get tested and treated. If the symptoms return, return to your doctor or sexual health clinic.If you have been diagnosed with chlamydia it is important to have another test 3 months after being treated so that a re-infection can also be treated.
Laboratories are required to notify cases of chlamydia to the local public health unit. This information is confidential. Public health staff use this data to better understand who is at risk and help plan activities to prevent new infections in the future. Patients and their doctors should ensure that sexual partners who may have been exposed to chlamydia are contacted for assessment, counselling and treatment, if needed.
The Sexual Health Infoline is a NSW Ministry of Health funded information and referral telephone line that is staffed by specialist sexual health nurses from 9:00am to 5:30pm weekdays.
The Infoline provides free and confidential sexual health support and information to community members and health professionals.
better to know provides information about sexually transmissible infections for Aboriginal women and men.
The Drama Downunder provides information about sexually transmissible infections for HIV-positive and HIV negative gay men.
For further information please call your local Public Health Unit on 1300 066 055