The Ultimate Guide To Chlamydia

What Is Chlamydia?

Chlamydia is a sexually transmitted infection caused by the bacterium Chlamydia trachomatis (CDC, 2022).

It is easily treatable and curable, but also one of the most common bacterial sexually transmitted infections, affecting both men and women (CDC, 2022).

Common Sexually Transmitted Infections


Genital Herpes






Viral Hepatitis

Male Urethritis Syndrome


Quick Facts About Chlamydia

There is only one species of Chlamydia, which is Chlamydia trachomatis. However, this species is composed of multiple serovars or strains that can cause different diseases (Thomson et al., 2020).

For example, strains A, B and C can cause a trachoma, an eye infection that can lead to blindness if left untreated. Strains D – K can cause genital infections, including urethritis and cervicitis. Strains L1 through L3 can cause lymphogranuloma venereum, a sexually transmitted infection that can cause swelling and sores in the genital area (Thomson et al., 2020).

This bacterium can also infect animals, including koalas and other marsupials, causing a disease known as chlamydiosis (Polkinghorne et al., 2020).

Who Is Most At Risk For Chlamydia?

Chlamydia is super common:

About 4.2% of women and 2.7% of men are affected by chlamydia worldwide, and in 2016 about 127 million new cases occurred globally (Wilson, & Wilson, 2021).

✔ 3.5% (1.7–6.1%) of South African adults (15–49 years) have it according to a study done in 2017 by Kularatne et al., (2018).

The people most at risk of getting this STI (Wilson, & Wilson, 2021):

✔ Are young, sexually active adults.

Approximately 75% of cases of Chlamydia are among those under 25 years old.

✔ People who consistently don’t use condoms and other protection during sex.

✔ People who have multiple partners

How Can I Get Chlamydia?

Short answer: though all different kinds of skin contact during sex.

Long answer: You get the chlamydia bacteria when one person’s vulva, vagina, cervix, penis, anus or used sex toys, touches another person’s genitals.

Chlamydia can be spread even if there is no ejaculation, or if a penis does not go inside the vagina/anus/mouth (CDC, 2022).

A pregnant woman with chlamydia can also give the infection to their baby during childbirth (CDC, 2022).

How To Protect Yourself Against Chlamydia

You cannot fully protect yourself against Chlamydia, but you can lower your chances of getting the bacterium by (, 2022):

Using condoms. This does help a lot, but they do not cover all the skin around your genitals, so you don’t have full protection.

Limiting your number of sexual partners. This reduces your chances of contracting an infection as your exposure to the bacterium is reduced (CDC, 2022).

Regular testing. Testing for Chlamydia and other sexually transmitted infections (STIs) is important, especially if you are sexually active. Regular testing can help detect and treat Chlamydia early before it causes serious health problems (CDC, 2022). Have you booked your test at our labs yet?

What Are The Symptoms of Chlamydia?

Chlamydia is often asymptomatic, and when symptoms occur, they can vary by sex.

90% of men have no symptoms but if they do, they are usually (Wilson, & Wilson, 2021):

✔ Discharge from the penis,

✔ Pain or burning during urination

✔ Swollen or tender testicles

In women, 70% develop no symptoms but if they do, they are (Wilson, & Wilson, 2021):

✔ Pain when urinating

✔ Abnormal vaginal discharge

✔ Pain during sex

✔ Bleeding between periods

✔ Abdominal or pelvic area pain

If the bacteria is left untreated, Chlamydia can spread further into the womb, fallopian tubes or pelvis. This can cause symptoms like (Wilson, & Wilson, 2021):

✔ Fever, chills, muscle pain, nausea, vomiting and pelvic or abdominal pain.

What Happens If Chlamydia Is Left Untreated?

Chlamydia Can Cause a Range of Health Problems:

If left untreated, chlamydia can cause pelvic inflammatory disease, infertility, and chronic pain (CDC, 2022).

It Can Permanently Damage Women’s Reproductive Systems:

Chlamydia can cause permanent damage to a woman’s reproductive system, resulting in potential infertility. This means it can be difficult or impossible to get pregnant later (CDC, 2022).

Risk of Ectopic Pregnancies:

Chlamydia can also cause a potentially fatal ectopic pregnancy. This is a kind of pregnancy that occurs outside the womb (CDC, 2022).

Transference During Childbirth:

Chlamydia can be transmitted from mother to child during childbirth, which can lead to eye infections or pneumonia in newborns (CDC, 2022).

How To Test For Chlamydia With Epicentre

Epicentre offers high-quality and easy STI testing:

Walk in Or make a booking online for one of our branches and request an STI screening.

✔ If you’d like to get you’d like to get tested at home, check out our STI Test In a Box.

✔ Unsure? Contact our team, we’re so happy to guide you through this process.

Testing For Chlamydia With Epicentre

1. Book an appointment online or just come through to one of our branches.

2. When you arrive, let our nurse you are there for an STI test. Choose which STIs you would like to get, get the whole package, or add on additional STIs to screen for.

4. Our nurse will take you through to our blood collection lounge.

5. Our nurses are trained to make the process of collecting a blood sample as painless and comfortable as possible. Simply sit back and relax.

4. Your sample will then be sent to our laboratory. You will receive a SMS and email with a link to your result.

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