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What is Chlamydia?

Chlamydia is the most common bacterial sexually transmitted infection (STI) in the UK and can cause infertility in both men and women.

Often called the silent epidemic, chlamydia can stay undetected for months and years, with up to 70 per cent of people not experiencing any symptoms of infection.

The only way of checking if you have a chlamydia infection is to take a test. However, research by Clamelle found that although 94 per cent of people are aware of chlamydia and its implications for infertility, only one third of people have been tested.

Chlamydia could be passed on to you by a sexual partner without you knowing and then stay hidden for years.

The science bit...

Chlamydia is an extremely common sexually transmitted infection caused by a bacteria called Chlamydia Trachomatis. The bacteria are spread by sex or any genital contact with an infected sexual partner or sex toy. Once infected the bacteria live in the semen and vaginal fluids of men and women and are passed on through sexual contact. Chlamydia infects the cervix, the urethra and the rectum.


Chlamydia often has no symptoms, and people can have the infection without knowing about it yet still be passing it on to their sexual partners. Even without symptoms, it's still important to treat the infection - left untreated; it can lead to long-term problems such as infertility.

Without symptoms, the only way of knowing for sure if you have a Chlamydia infection is to take a test.

If you do have symptoms, they are likely to be:

In women:

Unusual vaginal discharge, pain when passing urine or during sexual intercourse, pain below the belly button or bleeding between periods or after sex.

In men:

Pain and/or burning when passing urine, discharge from the penis, or swelling and pain in the testicles.

In men and women:

If the infection is in the rectum, there are rarely any symptoms but it may cause discomfort and discharge.

If you have any of these symptoms, speak to your pharmacist or GP or visit a clinic that specialises in treating sexually transmitted infections.