The most Common STI in the UK
In the UK over 200,000 people tested positive for Chlamydia in England in 2014. Nearly 70 percent of those diagnosed with the disease were under the age of 25.
However, the actual number of infections is many times greater as these figures do not include those with symptoms that have not yet been tested; or those who are infected but do not (yet) have any symptoms. Chlamydia is very insidious in this respect.
Chlamydia, what is it again?
Chlamydia is a sexually transmitted disease caused by a bacterium that settles in the mucous membranes of the vagina, penis or anus. Inflammation can, therefore, occur in any of these areas. The signs of chlamydia, like many other STDs, are rather vague at first. Symptoms that may indicate an infection include:
- Painful urination;
- Low abdominal pain (women) or pain in the scrotum (men);
- Pain and/or bleeding during sex (women);
- Discharge from the urethra (men);
- Increased or smelly vaginal discharge (women);
- Irritation around the anus;
- Diarrhoea or bloody discharge in stools.
Most people don’t notice any obvious signs, but they can still pass on the infection through unsafe sex to their sexual partners.
Risks of chlamydia
Chlamydia is easy to treat: the bacterium can easily be destroyed with an antibiotic treatment such as azithromycin or doxycycline. However, if you leave it too long before seeking treatment, the chlamydia bacteria can cause a lot of damage.
We aren’t talking about a few aches and pains, but serious complications, such as inflamed ovaries, reduced fertility and prostate inflammation. Chlamydia can also cause complications during pregnancy so it is far better to take steps to avoid getting it in the first place.
Chlamydia is transmitted through unsafe sex. If you want to prevent contamination, always use a condom, even if someone looks healthy, fit and freshly washed! If you have had unsafe sex, don’t wait until you notice any signs, but book an STD test as soon as possible. You can do this with your doctor or through a GUM clinic.
If you prefer to remain anonymous, you can buy a chlamydia self-test online. It’s easy to carry out the test with a urine or mucus sample and you’ll find out the results in 15 minutes.
What should you do if you do have a Chlamydia infection?
If the test shows that you do have a chlamydia infection, it is important to seek treatment as soon as possible. The second step is to inform your (former) sexual partner(s). We understand that you would probably far rather keep this bad news to yourself but not doing so could cause the disease to spread, and it’s unfair to your (ex) boyfriend or girlfriend. If you really can’t face him or her, there is another solution: report your infection anonymously.
This is possible via don’tspreadit.com, a service which is fast, free and completely anonymous.
Sources: Nhs,Don’t Spread it.com
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