Could you be affected? Sexually transmitted diseases (STDs, also known as STIs) such as chlamydia can affect people of all ages and can be transferred by any unprotected sexual activity, including sharing unwashed sex toys. Alarmingly, the number of people affected by these conditions is continuing to increase in the UK…
Chlamydia is the most common STD in the UK, with rates especially high in the under-25 age group. It normally affects the genitals but it can also affect the eyes, throat or anus. In many cases a person can be infected with Chlamydia without any symptoms, and for this reason anyone aged 16-24 years are entitled to free anonymous screening kits which can be picked up from pharmacies and GP practices, often with the results confidentially texted to mobile phones hassle-free. There are, however, some warning signs to look out for:
Signs you may have chlamydia:
- Pain or a burning sensation when passing urine
- Watery greyish discharge from the vagina or tip of the penis
- Discharge from the back passage (in those who engage in anal sex)
- Heavy or irregular periods in women
- Deep tummy pain during/after sex in women or painful swollen testicles in men
Once diagnosed by a urine sample or swab, treatment is simple and effective, and in most cases just requires antibiotic tablets; either azithromycin taken as a single dose, or another antibiotic called Doxycycline taken every day, for a week. It is important to detect and treat chlamydia, as unchecked it can lead to long-term fertility problems and inflammation.
In addition to starting treatment, you should abstain from sex for 1 week and also contact any recent sexual partners that may also be infected so that they can get treatment too. This can often be done anonymously through a sexual health clinic or GP.
Prevention is better than cure!
As you’ve read, symptoms can be unpleasant and sometimes very hard to treat and also lead to all sorts of complications. In STDs, as with all diseases, preventing is certainly better than having to deal with the symptoms.
The most popular and effective way of protecting yourself from these two STDs is through using barrier protection methods – such as condoms, which will prevent the transmission of both chlamydia and gonorrhoea as well as reducing the chances of unwanted pregnancy and also prevent other STDs such as HIV and Syphilis when used properly.
The Doctor Service provides a wide variety of treatments and information for many different ailments.
Edited by Dr Kiran Sodha & The Doctor Service