A very common bacterial infection that may produce uncomfortable symptoms but is also often symptomless.
- Discharge from the tip of the penis.
- Pain when passing urine.
- Burning and itching in the genital area.
- Infection of the back passage (rectum) may produce a discharge from the anus and inflammation of the rectum (proctitis).
- Symptoms may be very mild or last only a few days; up to half of all infected men will have no symptoms at all.
High, especially in men aged 20—24. Chlamydia is the most common sexually transmitted bacterial infection in the UK, and the number of new cases almost doubled between 1995 and 1999. It has continued to grow and 2002 figures showed a 20% increase on 2001.
A bacterium called Chlamydia trachomatis.
Practising safer sex and reducing the number of sexual partners will help to reduce the risk of infection. There is a national chlamydia screening programme offering free screening for men and women under 25. For more information on the programme, click here.
- Free Test Me - free chlamydia testing.
Checkurself - NHS organisation offering free Chlamydia testing to 16-24 year olds in London.
To prevent the risk of transmitting chlamydia to a partner, and to avoid long-term complications, symptoms should be treated as soon as you notice them. Your best bet is to visit a specialist GUM (genito-urinary medicine) clinic, which provides a confidential service.
Because it's often "silent" — that is, there are often few or no obvious symptoms — you can carry a chlamydia infection for months, even years, passing it on to other sexual partners.
Left untreated, chlamydial infection can lead to:
- epididymitis, which can compromise fertility
- joint inflammation
- and if you pass chlamydia on to a woman, it greatly increases her risk of developing pelvic inflammatory disease (PID), a potentially serious condition that can cause infertility, pelvic pain and ectopic pregnancy (where a foetus develops outside of the womb).
You will be asked to provide a urethral swab. This involves inserting a cotton bud inside the tip of your penis. There's no denying this is uncomfortable but it's not painful. And don't believe the rumours that the cotton bud's the size of a banana — it isn't. The good news is that a urine test has been developed for men as an alternative to the swab test and this is being used in an increasing number of clinics.
Antibiotics — doxycycline twice a day for seven days or a single dose of azithromycin are the most commonly prescribed drugs. They are very effective and produce few side-effects.
- You can get a sexual health check-up at a local GUM clinic where you'll be tested for chlamydia and other STIs.
- Don't have unprotected sex until you've finished your treatment and your partner has also been tested. This will give your body time to heal and prevent the risk of re-infection.
With treatment, very good.
Page created on January 16th, 2010
Page updated on January 21st, 2013