What is it?          

Chlamydia is a bacterial infection caused by bacteria called Chlamydia trachomatis. The bacteria can live in the, vagina cervix and womb the urethra the rectum and sometimes the throat and eyes. Anyone who’s had sex can get it and pass it on. You don’t need to have had lots of sexual partners to get an infection.

How do I get it?               

Chlamydia is usually passed from one person to another through sex. You can get the infection if you come into contact with the semen (cum or pre-cum) or vaginal fluids of someone who has chlamydia.
It can be passed on by giving or receiving oral sex (going down, giving head) with someone who has chlamydia. The risk can be lowered by using a condom or dam (latex or soft plastic square) to cover the genitals.
If infected semen or vaginal fluid comes into contact with the eye (eg rubbing the eye with hands that have touched genitals with an  infection) it can cause conjunctivitis (infection or irritation of the eye).
Chlamydia can be passed from a pregnant woman to her baby and the baby can get conjunctivitis (infection or irritation of the eye).
Chlamydia is most commonly spread through:

  • unprotected (without a condom) vaginal or anal sex
  • sharing sex toys that aren’t washed or covered with a new condom each time they’re used.

Signs and Symptoms     

More than 75% women and 50% men with chlamydia won’t have any obvious signs or symptoms, or will have symptoms so mild they’re not noticed.
Signs and symptoms can show up 1–3 weeks after coming into contact with chlamydia.

You might notice:

  • bleeding between periods and/or heavier periods (including women who are using hormonal contraception)
  • bleeding after sex
  • pain and/or bleeding when you have sex  
  • lower abdominal pain (pelvic pain) 
  • an unusual vaginal discharge  
  • pain when passing urine


  • a white/cloudy or watery discharge from the tip of the penis
  • pain when passing urine
  • pain in the testicles.

Men and women

  • There are rarely any symptoms if the infection is in the rectum (back passage) but it may cause discomfort and discharge.
  • Infection in the eyes can cause pain, swelling, irritation and/or discharge.
  • Infection in the throat is uncommon and usually has no symptoms.


Usually a urine sample for men and either a self taken vaginal swab or a swab taken from the cervix for women. Swabs can also be taken from other parts of the body if an infection is suspected.



Usually a short course of antibiotics.


Further guidance: Chlamydia