READ MORE about chlamydia...
What is chlamydia?
Chlamydia is very common in New Zealand, especially in young people under 25 years of age, but can affect people of all ages who are having sex.
Chlamydia is a bacterial [bugs] infection that, in women, infects the cervix [this is the entry to the uterus which is the sack where the baby grows] and can spread to other parts of the urinary [where wee comes out of] and reproductive systems. In men, chlamydia infects the urethra [the tube that carries wee] and can spread to the reproductive system [that produces sperm for making babies].
In both men and women, it can cause problems like pelvic inflammatory disease, [PID] and bladder [the sack that holds pee] infections and infertility [this means not being able to have babies]. Chlamydia is easily treated, but can lead to long-term health problems if untreated.
Chlamydia is spread by having sex with someone who has the infection. The sex can include vaginal and anal sex, oral sex, sharing sex toys or sex play.
Chlamydia can also be passed from mother to baby at birth and can affect the baby’s eyes or lungs.
Using condoms every time you have sex means you are much less likely to get chlamydia.
What are the symptoms of chlamydia?
Most people who have chlamydia don’t notice any symptoms, so they don’t know they have the infection—this is why testing is really important!
For those who do show symptoms, they can include pain when peeing, abdominal pain or unusual discharge from the vagina or penis, or discharge or bleeding from your anus if you have been having anal sex. In women, bleeding between periods or after sex might occur, and men might have painful or swollen testicles.
How serious is chlamydia?
Mothers should take care at childbirth as chlamydia can be passed to their baby at birth and can affect the baby’s development.
If not treated chlamydia can lead to pelvic inflammatory disease [PID] which can cause damage to the reproductive system [where babies develop] and lead to infertility [not being able to have babies].
How do I get tested for chlamydia?
You can be checked for chlamydia by your doctor, nurse or at a sexual health clinic. There’s no need to be embarrassed, it is far better to get checked than to have untreated chlamydia.
Women will need to have a swab taken from their vagina. If you have no symptoms, you can do the swab yourself. If you do have symptoms, a doctor or nurse will need to examine you in case your symptoms are being caused by something else.
Men will need to take a urine test.
Find a local clinic now.
What is the treatment for chlamydia?
Luckily, if you are diagnosed with chlamydia, it is easily treated with a prescription of oral antibiotics. This could be just a single dose, or a two-week course of treatment.
You must finish all the tablets you are prescribed to clear the infection, even if you already feel better.
Other important information about chlamydia
If you are diagnosed with chlamydia, you’ll need to inform anyone you have had sex with in the last three months. It is important that they are tested and treated too. Your nurse of doctor can help you deal with this situation, or read our section on How do I tell a partner?
You should use condoms or not have sex for seven days after your treatment is finished, so you don’t pass chlamydia on to anyone else.
If you have a partner you should both be treated and either use condoms or don’t have sex until the treatment is completed for both of you, or you risk catching chlamydia again.
You should have another STI check after three months to check everything is OK.