Overview

Chlamydia Clah-mid-ee-ah (bacteria) is sometimes known as a “silent disease”. This is because chlamydia symptoms often aren't obvious. This makes it easy for an infected person to pass Chlamydia unknowingly to their sexual partner(s).

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What's involved in a sexual health check?

Zane thinks he needs a Chlamydia check and books in to his local community health clinic in country Victoria. A humorous clip about what to expect visiting a sexual health clinic, made by young people who found out for themselves just how easy it is to book in and get checked.

  • Author: Smarty and Deadly Koori's
  • Upload Date: 2012-04-23

Created by Smart and Deadly Koori

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Factsheet

Provided by Youth Projects

We have partnered with Youth Projects to bring you the best factsheet information we can on this topic. Youth Projects is an independent, not-for-profit organisation that provides health, outreach, community and employment, education and training services to individuals experiencing disadvantage, unemployment, homelessness and alcohol and other drug issues.

What is Chlamydia?

Clah-mid-ee-ah (bacteria)

Chlamydia is sometimes known as a “silent disease”. This is because people can have the disease without having any obvious Chlamydia symptoms and signs. This makes it easy for an infected person to pass Chlamydia unknowingly to their sexual partner(s).

Chlamydia Symptoms

For women, this includes infertility, pelvic inflammatory disease (P.I.D) and an increased risk of complications in pregnancy such as an ectopic pregnancy. Because of these serious long term health problems it is important to prevent this infection (by using condoms and having regular testing) and if you do become infected, you need to get treated with antibiotics straight away.

In men Chlamydia causes infection of the urethra (opening of the penis). This may spread to other tubes of the male reproductive tract and the testes. Fortunately, Chlamydia is easily treated with antibiotics.

Chlamydia is a sexually transmitted infection that is common all over the world. It is caused by the bacteria Chlamydia trachomatis. Currently, the number of Chlamydia infections is on the rise in Australia, especially among young people.

Unfortunately getting treatment does not mean you are protected from being infected again. It is also thought that getting repeated infections increases the risks of infertility and pelvic inflammatory disease, so prevention (using condoms) is better than getting treatment when you are infected.

How do you get Chlamydia?

Chlamydia is passed from person to person during oral, vaginal and anal sex and can affect all people regardless of their age or sexuality. Condom use greatly decreases the risk of getting the infection from your partner.

Chlamydia Symptoms and Signs

IMPORTANT NOTE: Most men and women with Chlamydia do not have any symptoms at all.

In men who do get chlamydia symptoms, these symptoms include:

  • Pain or burning when urinating
  • Urinating more often than usual
  • Discharge from the urethra (opening of the penis)
  • Pain or swelling of the scrotum and testes
  • Rectal pain, itching, discharge or bleeding after anal sex
  • Sore throat after oral sex

In women who do get chlamydia symptoms, these symptoms include:

  • Pain or burning when urinating
  • Urinating more often than usual
  • Vaginal discharge that is different from normal
  • Pain during sex
  • Bleeding after sex
  • Pain in the lower abdomen or pelvic area
  • Rectal pain, itching, discharge or bleeding (after anal sex)
  • Sore throat after oral sex

What are the long term health problems of untreated Chlamydia?

As mentioned earlier, Chlamydia that isn’t treated can lead to serious health problems, especially if there are repeated episodes of infection.

Long term Chlamydia infection in women can lead to:

  • Infection of the lining of the uterus.
  • Infection of the fallopian tubes.
  • Increased risk of ectopic pregnancy.
  • Chronic inflammation and scarring in the pelvic region (PID).
  • Infertility as a result of infection and inflammation.

A pregnant woman with Chlamydia can pass it on to her newborn during delivery. Chlamydia in a newborn baby can cause chest or eye infections. This is due to contact with infected fluids during the birthing process. It’s important to note that males can also experience infertility as a consequence of long-term infection and scarring.

On rare occasions, people with Chlamydia can develop an illness involving their joints and their liver.

How do you prevent getting Chlamydia?

The best way to prevent yourself from getting Chlamydia is to use condoms or dams during vaginal, anal or oral sex. It’s also important to remember that when you’re young, you’re not always ready to be with one partner only and maybe more likely to have lots of short term relationships, so be sure to protect yourself.

A sexual health check every year is highly recommended for all sexually active people, especially if you’re under 25 years of age. If you are in a long term relationship, you may be less inclined to use condoms but Testing is free in clinics that bulkbill (covered by Medicare). It’s still important for you to both get checked for Chlamydia and other STIs that you may have got from previous partners without knowing it. Getting tested (and if need be treated) for any STIs at the start of a sexual relationship can help you relax and enjoy your sex life. But remember, if one or both partners have other sexual partners there is always the possibility of new infections occurring.

How do you find out if you have Chlamydia?

In women Chlamydia can be detected with a:

  • Urine sample
  • Swab from the cervix or rectum
  • Swab from the throat

If you don’t have any symptoms,the doctor or nurse will usually suggest a urine test. If you do have symptoms, a swab of the cervix is recommended.

Chlamydia Symptoms are hard to notice to getting tested is essential

And if you have symptoms such as pelvic pain or fever, the doctor or nurse may advise a thorough examination, including a vaginal examination as well as cervical swabs. This is to check for more serious infections and complications such as P.I.D. To take a proper swab the doctor or nurse will need to examine you internally. This usually involves using an instrument called a speculum to look inside the cervix. If you feel uncomfortable with this, you can discuss with the doctor or nurse about having a friend or partner with you for support. You can also request a male or female doctor/nurse, depending on who you are more comfortable with.

In men Chlamydia can be detected with a:

  • Urine sample
  • Urethral and / or rectal swab
  • Throat swab

If you live close to a city, Chlamydia test results generally take about 2 - 3 days to come back. This can take a little longer in country areas where samples need to be sent further away for testing. Testing is free in clinics that bulk bill (covered by Medicare).

In some cases treatment is also free, if not, with a Health Care Card you’ll only have to pay the standard prescription payment.

How do you get treated for Chlamydia?

Chlamydia can usually be treated by a single dose of antibiotics. In some clinics the doctor or nurse may give you the treatment on the spot before the test result is available.

This is usually done if there is a good chance you have been infected and there is concern that the infection may have already spread. The doctor or nurse will let you know you when it’s safe to have sex again without putting your partner at risk. As a general rule, all treatment must be completed and symptoms improved before you start having sex again.

More information

For more information on STIs and having a sexual health check-up, call FPA Healthline 1300 65 88 86, or checkout the links below for contacts in your area.

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20 Responses to “Chlamydia”

  1. danielle says:

    the video is wayyyyy to disguting to watch so im not going to bother you can see it in the picture shown

  2. sandra lee says:

    wow, it is awesome, people don’t realise it is so common and easily transmitted. diff. age groups have varying knowledge of s.t.i.

  3. Gina says:

    This has really helped me with a Health project. I didn’t even need to go to another page. I was able to get everything I needed from here. Thank you :D

  4. bev says:

    i would like to know how lo
    long chlamidia could be present before any symptoms present, would you assume it was your most recent sexual partner who passed it on or could it have been a former sex.partner

    • lynz says:

      Good question Bev, as Chlamydia is very clever at not showing you many signs it is there. It certainly could have been from a former sex partner. We recommend heading to your GP or even one of the headspace services, or a youth health service in your area to have a sexual health check up – not as scarey as they sound, they are super nice about it (see the video on this page about heading for a check up and what they do. They will not only help you get treatment, but also advise about informing previous partners etc. Take care Lynz

  5. Ruby says:

    Hey even if was two days after having sex can you have syptoms of chlamudia ?? if get discharge that is bloody is that something else??? also really great video clip.

    • lynz says:

      Hi Ruby – Often Chlamydia is known as the silent disease as it doesn’t often have symptoms that are easy to pick up – to make sure everything is fine getting a sexual health check is a great idea. You can either contact your GP, or give your local youth service a call and see if they have a GP or sexual health nurse. It isn’t as bad as it sounds, they are always really friendly and just want to make it easy for you. Good luck Lynsey

  6. Shelley says:

    Hi, i just had some concerns as a few years ago i was in a relationship where my partner was cheating on me with numerous women but i had no clue it was going on. He broke up with me to be with one of them but told me a different reason and for two years i wasn’t with anyone else and had no idea this went on behind my back until one of the women contacted me two years later! I immediately got a full check up and came back positive to Chlamydia. I had treatment to cure it and have had check ups afterwards to make sure it was gone but i had some questions. Firstly, i am extremely worried this may cause me problems in the future when i want to have children. Due to the fact that i hadn’t been with anyone else after him up until the point i got tested, i know i must have been infected for two years without knowing. I am 30 now and recently got engaged but probably won’t try for another three years to have children. I asked my doctor if there was anyway to tell whether or not it caused any permanent damage and she said it’s better not to do the test unless i try to get pregnant and am unsuccessful for a year because the test itself can cause damage and there is no point risking that to check for something which may not even be an issue. Do you think that is good advice by my doctor and are there any other tests i can try that won’t cause damage? I am currently in Australia but moving to the UK soon, so wondering if they have different methods for testing which are safer? Also, my last papsmear and swab test came out clear but how do i know my chlamydia didn’t cause me to have PID? I have extremely heavy periods and a few other symptoms and was wondering if it’s just my paranoia or if i could have that even though they got rid of the Chlamydia? Like is that a separate test to check for PID? I’m really worried as i definitely want children and any information would be very much appreciated. Thank you.

    • lynz says:

      Hi Shelley, Thanks for your comment and all great questions. Unfortunately we can’t provide one one one answers to these as we aren’t the experts in that field, but it is great that you have been asking all these questions to your GP. Perhaps going and getting a second opinion might put you mind at rest and give some more information, also search and see if there is a Sexual Health Clinic near you as they will have lots of information and deal specifically with this area. We hope you get some answers soon to ease your mind. Lynz

    • lili says:

      you go girl! he is a dick

  7. Emma says:

    I just recently got tested positive for chlamydia. I took the anitibiotics the dr gave me and about a week later i started to get very bloated and getting diarrhea, would this be cause by chlamydia or just virus?

    • lynz says:

      Hi Emma, first huge thumbs up for going and getting tested, something we should all do. Re the reaction to the tablets afraid we can’t answer that one, but would suggest giving your doctor a call to see what they think. Hope you are feeling better soon. Lynsey

  8. Laura says:

    Hi my sexual partner got tested positive for chlamydia last week and I’m wondering, since I’m not from Australia and will have to pay the full bill, how long is it safe to wait to get treatment? Can I wait 5 months until I am in my own country?
    Thanks

    • lynz says:

      Hi Laura, great that you are looking at your options. To make sure you get the right answers to these questions we advise chatting to a GP re your options – quite often local your centres have GP’s and sexual health nurses for a more youth focused service. Good luck Lynsey

  9. Kelsey says:

    Hello, I got tested for chlamydia a few months ago cause my partner at the time had it. I took the tablets but they made me feel very sick. Like I wanted to power chuck everywhere. I managed to keep everything down for 4 or 5 hours but then chucked. Do you think the tablets worked?

    • lynz says:

      Hi Kelsey, sorry to hear the tablets made you feel bad, sadly we can’t answer your questions as we don’t have the appropriate medical knowledge – trying giving your local GP a call or your youth centre if they have a GP or sexual health nurse as part of the team and we are sure they can help you out. :)

  10. Steve says:

    Hi, I work away and one on my workers has been tested & treated with Chlamydia. He is a married man with 2 children. He has asked me what to do as he says he did not have sex with anyone other than his wife. He said he had sex with his wife while she had her period. Could this cause the problem?

    • lynz says:

      Hi Steve – we suggest getting your mate to chat with his GP about this, as we don’t have the medical expertise to answer your question but good on you for helping out your mate.

  11. Lusi says:

    Dear Lynz,

    I consider myself infected with STI for more than 2 years. I have multiple PCR-tests for Chlamydia, Micoplasma and Ureaplasma STI. All PCR-tests always came negative. I would like to do other tests to check for these infections. Would you please advise me the address of the specialized clinic to do Clamydia cell culture test, Chlamydia antibody titre test and other tests,(not the PCR)in Sydney?
    Thank you.
    Kind regards, Lusi.

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