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Chlamydia is a sexually transmitted infection (STI) passed from one person to another through contact with fluids from the penis or the vagina[1]. It is the most common sexually transmitted infection in the UK and is mostly found in young sexually active adults (under 25)[2].

Symptoms of chlamydia in females include:

In males symptoms can be:

Chlamydia can also infect the rectum, throat and eyes if individuals engage in oral or anal sex. Symptoms of rectal chlamydia can be discomfort, bleeding or discharge whilst in the eyes the bacteria causes conjunctivitis[3].

In most individuals chlamydia is a-symptomatic, which can lead to the disease going unnoticed for long periods of time. This can lead to complications such as pelvic inflammatory disease or blocked fallopian tubes (both of which can lead to infertility) in women and urethritis (inflammation of the urethra) or epididymitis (swelling in part of the male reproductive system which can lead to infertility) in men[4]. It is for this reason that it is advised that sexually active young adults get tested for chlamydia at least once a year.

Testing for chlamydia is done via a simple swab test or urine sample and does not require an examination by a doctor although this may be advisable if you have knowingly had unprotected sexual contact with someone who had chlamydia at the time. Test results usually take between 1-2 weeks to come back but if you have had contact with someone with the disease then it may be advised that treatment is carried out immediately[5].

Chlamydia is an infection cause by the bacteria Chlamydia trachomatis and therefore treatment is a course of antibiotics[6]. The most commonly prescribed antibiotics for treatment of chlamydia are azithromycin and doxycycline although others may be used if the individual has any pre-existing medical conditions or during pregnancy. Treatment is 95% effective if the course of antibiotics is taken as directed and the individual abstains from further sexual contact for a minimum of 7 days. A test to check whether or not the antibiotics have effectively treated the chlamydia is advised if medication was not taken correctly or if symptoms persist[7]


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