Maintaining your sexual health is vital and practising safe sex is always advised. Sexually transmitted diseases can cause some serious complications to your health and should be treated immediately by your GP or local GUM clinic.
Chlamydia is a bacterial infection that is treated by a simple course of an antibiotic, either Azithromycin or Doxycycline. Symptoms can take up to 2 weeks to subside but treatment will prevent further complications if treated in time.
Genital Herpes is a viral condition that remains for life. The complication is that the symptoms of herpes can “flare up” from time to time making it very uncomfortable for the person experiencing them. The lesions are often unsightly and the condition can be passed on very easily. Symptomatic relief can come by taking a short course of an anti-viral, stopping the full development of a flare up.
A sexually transmitted infection (STI) is an infection passed between people during sexual intercourse annd general sexual contact. You can be tested for STIs at either a sexual health clinic, GUM clinic or at your GP’s surgery. You can protect yourself from STIs by using barrier methods of contraception such as condoms. People don’t always suffer from symptoms and can have a sexually transmitted infection for a long time before they realise they are infected.
What is Chlamydia
Chlamydia is a bacterial infection caused by the Chlamydia Trachomatis bacteria. It’s one of the most common sexually transmitted infections (STIs) found in the UK. It is spread from person to person through unprotected sex and is particularly prevalent in sexually active teenagers and young adults. The infection affects both sexes, but women are more at risk of infection than men. In total there were 200,288 chlamydia diagnoses in 2015 which is approximately half of all STi’s that were reported in that year alone (FPA).
The most common symptoms are:
Most symptoms will appear very shortly after transmission, however in some cases Chlamydia can remain without symptoms for years. This is why it is very important to get tested if there is a suspicion that you could have caught the infection i.e. if your condom splits. You should also make sure you are tested if you or your partner:
How do I check if I have it?
The infection is diagnosed a urine test. The tests can be done by your GP, local genitourinary clinic (GUM) or sexual health clinic. You can also get a private test done where you post a urine sample to the company. Results are usually back within 7-10 days.
If it turns out you have Chlamydia, it is very important your previous sexual partners (last 6 months) are also tested. GUM clinics can help with this and offer a service where you do not have to contact partners directly. A representative at the clinic can do so (FIND YOUR NEAREST ONE HERE).
What happens if I have it but don’t treat it?
Untreated Chlamydia infection can lead to some very serious health consequences, for example a type of reactive arthritis or even infertility. It can also cause:
Is it easily treatable?
Yes. Uncomplicated chlamydia infection can be treated in 95% of all patients with a short antibiotic course. There are 2 main antibiotic options in the UK
Azithromycin (macrolide) 3-day course: 1g given as a single dose on the 1st day, followed by 500mg taken daily for two days
Doxycycline (tetracycline) 7-day course: 100mg twice daily for 7 days - THIS IS 1st LINE
Both are effective treatments that work in different ways to achieve the same goal. The main deciding factor should be suitability. The shorter course is always preferred; however, some patients will not be able to take macrolide antibiotics and thus Doxycycline will be more suitable.
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