General STI rates have seen a dramatic increase in recent years, both in Australia and other parts of the developed world. This steep rise in diagnoses can largely be attributed to increases in number and frequency of STI testing, and the increased accuracy of those tests. Societal changes such as the increased popularity of online dating and dating apps have also had implications for the spread of STIs.

Chlamydia is the most common STI in Australia, with approximately 97,000 people testing positive for Chlamydia every year. Sexually active individuals under the age of 30 are at the highest risk of contracting the infection, with young people accounting for 51% of those diagnosed with Chlamydia in Western Australia in 2020.

What are the symptoms of Chlamydia?

Chlamydia is caused by the chlamydia trachomatis bacteria, which is spread through unprotected sexual activity. Chlamydia is often asymptomatic, with 50% of men and 75% of women experiencing no symptoms. When symptoms do appear, they differ between men and women.

Chlamydia symptoms in women:

  • Pain or burning during sex
  • Discomfort when urinating
  • Vaginal discharge
  • Pelvic pain
  • Irregular bleeding

Chlamydia symptoms in men:

  • Pain or burning during sex
  • Discomfort when urinating
  • Urethral discharge
  • Testicular pain

Using a condom during sex and getting tested frequently are the best ways to prevent the spread of Chlamydia.

Uncomfortable red cartoon woman and blue cartoon man with arms and legs crossed.

How is Chlamydia treated?

Chlamydia can be detected with a urine sample or vaginal, throat or rectum swab. The infection is easily treated and curable with a course of antibiotics. It is important to remember that anyone can be re-infected, so if you have been treated once, you can still catch Chlamydia again in the future.

What happens if Chlamydia is not treated?

If left untreated, Chlamydia can have long lasting effects on your health. In women, the infection can cause pelvic inflammatory disease, a condition which can lead to chronic pelvic pain and infertility. Chlamydia is the leading cause of infertility among women in Australia.

Pregnant women who have Chlamydia can pass the infection on to their child during pregnancy, causing eye infections and pneumonia in the new-born. Chlamydia also increases the chances of premature birth and low birth weight.

Untreated Chlamydia in men can lead to prostatitis, epididymitis and potential infertility.

Talk to Better2Know in confidence

Despite the rise in Chlamydia testing, many cases are currently undiagnosed and untreated. A Chlamydia test is quick and easy. Why not test for a range of STIs for complete peace of mind with one of our comprehensive sexual health screens? Better2Know can book you an appointment at one of our clinics near you.

Sources

[1] HEALTH.WA.GOV.AU: Ask the question – could I have it?

[2] HEALTH.GOV.AU: Chlamydia

[3] STI.GUIDLINES.ORG.AU: Chlamydia

[4] HEALTHDIRECT.GOV.AU: Chlamydia

[5] ABC.NET.AU: STIs are increasingly common, but stigma around them persists

[6] CDC.GOV: Chlamydia – CDC Fact Sheet




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