Chlamydia Guide

Wouldn’t you like to know if you had a houseguest staying, someone who had been sneaking in and around your house without you noticing them? They might have been communicating with your friends /partners without you suspecting a thing?  You would normally check and secure your home. You would regularly talk with your friends and partner so that this would never happen? However your body may be unsuspectingly supporting an unwelcome guest that is bad for your health and your partner’s health. Similarly to your home, your health also needs monitoring and protecting to prevent yourself from carrying an infection. There is a particularly common infection called Chlamydia that many people aren’t aware that they are carrying. They may have no symptoms at all. The only way of recognising that you may have Chlamydia is by going for a check up or self-testing.

What is Chlamydia?

Chlamydia is an infection that many people don’t know they have, it’s true! Chlamydia is a tiny organism only visible under a microscope. You won’t be able to see it and in many cases you won’t feel it. There will be no symptoms. You may in fact have been carrying it around, your body supporting its growth for years, not just days or weeks.

Chlamydia (the full scientific name of the bacterium is Chlamydia trachomatis) is a bacterial infection of the urogenital system, which is the sexual reproductive system and genital areas. Chlamydia infects vagina if you are female and the penis if you are male. You may become infected after intercourse or sexual contact with someone carrying Chlamydia. However, the infection is not limited to these urogenital areas and Chlamydia can infect or inhabit any areas that have been in contact with infected sexual organs such as the throat and eyes after oral sex or the rectum following anal sex. The Chlamydia infection is easily spread and is the most common sexually transmitted disease in the UK. In fact worldwide around 100 million cases are diagnosed per year so you are by no means alone or unique if you have or suspect that you may have been infected with Chlamydia. Once painlessly detected, Chlamydia is easily treated with antibiotics.

What happens if you do have Chlamydia?

  • It is easily and painlessly treated with antibiotics
  • You will be advised not to have sex during the treatment
  • You will be advised to inform any partners who you think may be infected 
  • Your partner/s will be advised to take a test for Chlamydia     
  • You should inform your current partner so that they can get treated
  • You will be advised to re-take the test for Chlamydia after treatment    

Treatment for Chlamydia using Antibiotics

Painless, oral administration of antibiotics is a cure for Chlamydia. Antibiotics used for the treatment are called Doxycycline and Azithromycin they are recommended for the treatment of Chlamydia when no complications have developed. The treatment regime depends on the antibiotic. These are currently;

  • Azithromycin is a single dose.
  • Doxycycline is taken twice a day for 7 days

Alternative antibiotics called Erythromycin, Ofloxacin and Levofloxacin may also be used. Treatment regimes are;

  • Erythromycin is taken four times a day for 7 days
  • Ofloxacin is taken twice a day for 7 days
  • Levofloxacin is taken once a day for 7 days

If you are prescribed Erythromycin you must abstain from sex for 14 days, other treatments require abstinence for 7 days. This is the only 100% sure way of not becoming re-infected with Chlamydia during treatment. 

Sex is probably a normal part of your life and prevention of Chlamydia can be achieved when having sex by using condoms, although you may find that this method isn’t always 100% successful. Antibiotics can also prevent the pill from working and to avoid pregnancy, ideally you should abstain from sexual intercourse or use a condom for the recommended 7-14 days during treatment. Condoms will be provided free of charge by the NHS. If you are already pregnant Azithromycin, Amoxicillin and Erythromycin are all safe treatments for you to take.

You must ensure that your current partner is also tested and treated, before you restart sexual activity with them or you will re-infect one another. You or your partner may have had no symptoms and you will not know whether or not the treatment has worked. You should both be re-tested for Chlamydia again, 3-4 weeks after treatment to ensure the treatment was effective.

Azithromycin for Chlamydia »