Chlamydia Info

This section gives you all you need to know about chlamydia and gonorrhoea: the signs and symptoms, how to avoid it, what to do if you think you have it.

FAQs

Chlamydia Information

What happens if I don't get treated for chlamydia?

Without appropriate treatment, Chlamydia can spread to other parts of the body causing damage and serious long-term complications.

In women

Chlamydia can spread to other organs in the reproductive system causing pelvic inflammatory disease (PID). This can lead to complications such as pain in the lower abdomen, scarred or blocked fallopian tubes, infertility and ectopic pregnancy (pregnancy that occurs outside the womb).

In men

Chlamydia can lead to a painful infection in the testicles (balls), possible reduced fertility and an inflammation of the prostate gland in some men.

In men and women

Inflammation / swelling of the joints can occur. This might be accompanied by inflammation of the urethra (tube from the bladder to the outside of the body) and the eye ( known as Reiter's syndrome). However, this is rare and more common in men than women.

How will I know if chlamydia has affected whether I can have babies?

Chlamydia is one of many things that can affect your fertility. However, the more often you get chlamydia, the more likely it is to cause complications which can affect your fertility. People who have had chlamydia are not routinely offered tests to see they are fertile they find they have difficulty getting pregnant long-term. If you are concerned, talk to your GP or practice nurse.

What happens if I get chlamydia when I'm pregnant?

Chlamydia is sometimes linked to early miscarriage or premature birth. It can be passed on to the baby during the birth and occasionally before the birth. Chlamydia can cause inflammation and discharge from the baby's eye (conjunctivitis) and pneumonia.

Chlamydia is treatable with antibiotics during pregnancy and breastfeeding - the antibiotics won't harm the baby - but itís important to tell the doctor or nurse that you are pregnant so that you are given the right type of antibiotic.

Will I know how long I have had the infection?

A positive test result does not tell you how long someone has been infected. Some people get no symptoms at all or they can appear a long time after being exposed to chlamydia.

How did I get chlamydia?

Chlamydia is a sexually transmitted infection. It can be caught by having vaginal, oral or anal sex; or sharing sex toys.

How can I find out who has given me chlamydia?

You might never know whether you caught it from your current or a previous sexual partner. Some people are upset or angry when they find out they have an STI (STD) and it can be hard to talk to their partner or friends. You can always talk about how you feel with the staff at the clinic.

How do I protect myself against chlamydia?

By always having safer sex - using condoms. Other contraceptives, such as using the coil, the pill or the implant etc, will only stop you getting pregnant; they wonít stop you catching an infection.

Using a condom for all types of sex can greatly reduce the risk of picking up chlamydia and other sexually transmitted diseases.



The Chlamydia Test

Can I choose which type of home test kit to have if I am a girl?

You will normally be sent a urine test. If you live in Lambeth, Southwark or Lewisham you will be sent the self-taken swab test, which is painless and easy to do. You can do a self-taken vaginal swab even when you have your period.

What does the home test kit look like?

We send the kit to you in a brown A5 envelope with no NHS logo or address on it. It fits through any normal sized letter box.

Will I ever need to have another chlamydia test?

The recommendation is to have another test if you or your partner have unprotected sex with someone else or when you have a new partner.

What if I don't want to take the test?

This is not a problem. You have the right to refuse to take a chlamydia test. It will not affect how you are looked after in the future. If you change your mind, you can come for a test at any time.

How do I give consent to taking the home chlamydia test?

There is a form for you to fill in with your testing kit. By doing this and sending your sample to the laboratory you are giving your consent to be tested for chlamydia (and gonorrhoea in Bromley, Bexley, Croydon, Haringey, Hillingdon, Kingston, Lambeth, Lewisham, Southwark, Sutton, Merton or Wandsworth) and for us to contact you by the method of contact you have agreed to.

Will my GP find out I have taken the chlamydia test?

We will not tell your GP that you have taken a chlamydia test.

Who will find out I've had a chlamydia test?

We will not tell anyone that you've had a test. We will only contact you if you need treatment or if you want to know if you are negative by text message. You will need to think about who you need to tell if you have a positive test.

Will the test hurt?

No, we only need a sample of urine or for women who live in Lambeth, Southwark and Lewisham, a self-taken vaginal swab (like inserting a tampon) to test.



Chlamydia Treatment

Will the antibiotics get rid of the infection completely?

Yes, as long as you follow the instructions the clinician gives you and you take the tablets as instructed.

Where can I get my chlamydia treatment?

When we contact you about your positive result, we will help you find a service nearby where you can be treated as soon as possible.

When can I have sex again after my chlamydia treatment?

You should avoid sex (this includes oral, vaginal or anal) for 7 days after treatment (i.e. after you have taken the last antibiotic tablet), so that the antibiotic has enough time to work. If you have a regular partner you will need to wait for 7 days after they have finished their treatment.



Gonorrhoea Information

What is Gonorrhoea?

Gonorrhoea is a bacterial infection you catch by having sex (this oral, vaginal or anal) with someone who already has it.

How do I know if I have Gonorrhoea (Gonorrhoea Symptoms)?

Gonorrhoea is not as common as chlamydia. Many people donít know they have it. Women often get no symptoms. Men usually develop a yellow/green discharge from the penis within a few days of being infected. However, you probably wonít know if you have gonorrhoea in your throat or in your rectum (bum). Testing is the only way to know for sure.

Do I have to be tested for gonorrhoea as well as chlamydia?

In most parts of London we only test you for chlamydia but in Bromley, Bexley, Haringey, Lambeth, Southwark, Lewisham, Croydon, Sutton, Merton and Wandsworth we test for chlamydia and gonorrhoea at the same time.

How do you treat gonorrhoea?

If you have gonorrhoea you will be referred to a sexual health clinic for treatment with antibiotics and you will be given some more tests to find out which antibiotic is best for you.

What happens if I don't get gonorrhoea treatment?

Untreated gonorrhoea can cause complications later on. In women the infection can lead to pelvic infection. In men it can cause painful swollen balls (testicles). Gonorrhoea can lead to infertility in both women and men.

Why do you test for gonorrhoea as well?

There is a lot of chlamydia and gonorrhoea infection in Lambeth & Southwark. If you have chlamydia you are more likely to have been exposed to other sexually transmitted infections, so in Bromley, Bexley, Haringey, Lambeth, Southwark, Lewisham, Croydon, Sutton, Merton and Wandsworth our tests automatically check for gonorrhoea as well, which saves you having to go for another test.



Chlamydia and Gonorrhoea Test Results

How will I get my results?

You decide to receive your results by SMS text, phone call, email or letter. We canít process your sample if you donít give us contact details as we won't be able to tell you if you have an infection.

What if my result is positive?

This means that you have an infection. We will try to contact you usually by phone to talk to you about this in private. If we can't contact you in person we may send you a text message or letter asking you to contact us. We will only ever talk to you about your test results. We do not leave voicemails or messages saying we are from the chlamydia screening programme.

How long will it take to get my results?

Once you have posted your sample we will normally contact you within 7 days. If you haven't heard from us after 2 weeks, contact us by going to the contact us page for our details.

What will the SMS text say?

We will not put your name on the text and depending on your result the SMS will contain one of the following:

  • Your urine test is negative. You do not have Chlamydia/Gonorrhoea infections. Go to www.checkurself.org.uk for info & www.comecorrect.org.uk for FREE condoms
  • IMPORTANT SAVE TXT! Your Chlamydia test is POSITIVE Go to www.checkurself.org.uk or call nurse 07912780317 for treatment. Your test for Gonorrhoea was NEGATIVE
  • IMPORTANT you tested POSITIVE for Gonorrhoea & need treatment from GU clinic asap. Call nurse 07912780317 9-5 w/d www.checkurself.org.uk Chlamydia is NEGATIVE
  • IMPORTANT! You tested POSITIVE for Chlamydia & Gonorrhoea infection & need treatment from GU clinic asap. Call nurse 07912780317 9-5 w/d www.checkurself.org.uk


Other Questions

Can you get chlamydia from oral sex?

Yes, you can get chlamydia from giving and receiving oral sex. Our test is only for chlamydia in the genitals (vagina or penis); if you are worried about a risk from oral sex you can mention it when you go to a sexual health clinic.

Can you get gonorrhoea from oral sex?

Yes, you can get gonorrhoea from giving and receiving oral sex. The symptoms can be like those of a sore throat. You can ask to be tested for gonorrhoea in the throat at a sexual health clinic if you are worried about this.

How do I get a test if I am aged 25 and older?

If you are aged 25 and older and worried about chlamydia your GP or any sexual health clinic will be able to give you a test.

What if I am worried about other sexually transmitted infections (STIs)?

You can go to your local sexual health clinic. For information, you could visit one of the websites on our Safer Sex and Links pages.



Financial

Who funds Checkurself?

The Checkurself chlamydia screening website is an NHS service and is funded by London Local Authorities.

Do I have to pay for the test or treatment?

The test and treatment are free and we give you a freepost envelope to send us your sample.




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What people are saying

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  • NHS are doing some great job with these free STI tests and I think that there should be more of them, such as AIDS. However, thanks a lot for the free opportunity to test my self for Chlamydia.

    ~ Croydon Visitor
  • I've only used this website twice, but both times i was very pleased with the service. It's simple to use and fast results. Good if you lack confidence to go face to face. Defo use in the future :)

    ~ Bexley Visitor
  • Thank you for this opportunity, to know more about Chlamydia. This site is very useful.

    ~ Croydon Visitor