24 March 2011
A common sexually transmitted infection (STI) cause by the bacteria (germ) chlamydia trachomatis
Facts about this common sexual infection
What is it?
- A very common sexually transmitted infection (STI) caused by the bacteria (germ) Chlamydia trachomatis
- Men who have unprotected sex with men are at high risk of getting this infection
- May affect your urethra (urine tube), anus, throat or eyes
- It is a preventable and curable infection
- Untreated chlamydial infection increases risks of HIV transmission
How can I get it?
- Chlamydia bacteria can live in the throat, urethra (urine tube), anus or vagina
- Chlamydia is spread through unprotected oral, anal or vaginal sex with someone who is already infected
- You can get chlamydia through oral sex, even if there is no oral exposure to semen
- Bisexual men can spread chlamydia to women in whom it may cause a serious infection resulting in fertility and obstetric problems
- You cannot get chlamydia from casual contact such as hugging, kissing or sharing food and drink
- You cannot get chlamydia from toilet seats and doorknobs
How do I know if I have it?
- About half of infected guys have no symptoms and the infection can only be identified by taking a swab (scraping) from the throat, penis or anus or by doing a urine screening test. If you suspect you have been exposed to chlamydia, speak to your doctor
- If symptoms occur, they happen about 1-3 weeks after sexual exposure
Common symptoms include
- Urethral (urine tube) infections: white, yellow-greenish pus from the opening of the urethra and / or burning when you urinate or ejaculate
- Itching and pain around the opening of the urethra
- Anal infections: yellow mucus discharge or bloody discharge from the anus, pain and / or bleeding when passing stool or having receptive anal sex
- Scrotal infections: pain and swelling around the testicles
How do you prevent it?
- A monogamous relationship or reducing your number of sexual partners will help avoid this infection
- Condoms will usually prevent Chlamydia infections
- Regular screening for this disease will prevent asymptomatic (being infected but not showing any symptoms) infections and transmission to your sex partners
How do I get treatment?
- Chlamydia is usually curable with a course of antibiotics, taken twice daily for a week – your doctor will suggest the best treatment
- If you have had unsafe sex you should get tested even if you have no symptoms
- If you have untreated chlamydia you can spread it to other sexual partners even if you have no symptoms.
- If you have had unsafe sex while infected with chlamydia, you should contact any known sex partners as they may have contracted the infection and may need treatment. It is also important that your regular partner gets treatment at the same time to prevent the infection being transmitted back and forth between you two