Sexual & General Health

Chlamydia - The Silent Epidemic

Chlamydia is the most common diagnosed STI and the number of new cases keeps rising. Young men and women aged 16 to 24 are most at risk although people of all ages can be affected.

If you're aged 16 to 25, have had unprotected oral, anal or vaginal sex and live in Wiltshire, then call us on 01722 421951 or email us at for your free postal testing kit. All information will be treated in the strictest confidence.

Read on to find out more ...

Chlamydia is a sexually transmitted infection caused by a bacterium.

Chlamydia can be transmitted through oral and anal sex. It's such a widespread disease that it is often known as the silent epidemic.

Chlamydia is the most commonly reported infectious disease and although curable is considered one of the most dangerous sexually transmitted diseases among men because of the far-reaching complications it can cause.

The reason chlamydia is so widespread and dangerous is because it often goes unrecognised and therefore is left untreated. Around 50% of men with chlamydia have no symptoms of the disease once infected. If left untreated it can cause infertility.

It is for this reason that regular testing is encouraged among sexually active men, particularly those under the age of 24. Statistics show that the most vulnerable and highest reported number of cases are men between the ages of 16 and 24.

Who is at risk?

Everyone who is sexually active, or who have been sexually active but has not been screened for chlamydia. Also, if you've had multiple sexual partners and fail to use contraception (condoms and dams) 100% of the time.

Chlamydia prevention

You can get and spread chlamydia through unprotected oral and anal sex. This means you should approach sexual relationships or encounters responsibly, limit the number of sex partners, always use condoms or dams, and if you think you are or may be infected, avoid any sexual contact until you have been given the all-clear by your doctor or local GU/STI clinic. You also need to make sure your partner is treated to avoid the risk of re-infection.

Where can Chlamydia develop?

Chlamydia in men can initially develop in several areas of the body:

  • Urethra
  • Throat
  • Mouth
  • Rectum

Chlamydia symptoms

Not everyone will experience every symptom outlined below, but some of you may experience one or more of the following (symptoms of chlamydia in men):

  • Pain, burning or stinging during urination
  • Pain or tenderness in the testicles
  • Clear, or slightly coloured discharge from the urethra
  • Unusual itching, particularly around the opening of the end of the penis
  • Low grade fever

In rare instances, chlamydia can infect the area in and around the rectum, producing inflammation and the production of a clear, sticky discharge from the rectum and, through not always, pain when going to the toilet.

Complications of Chlamydia infections in men

  • Sterility
  • Fertility problems
  • Epididymitis - this is inflammation of the epididymis, the tube that carries sperm from the testicle. It can occur in one or both tubes and can result in extensive, very painful swelling
  • Reiter's Syndrome, an autoimmune condition where the joints are affected by arthritis

Chlamydia test

It is a very straightforward test which can be carried out either by yourself, your GP or at a GU/STI clinic. Normally a simple urine sample is all that is needed, however, occasionally a swab from the urethra or throat maybe needed.

Chlamydia treatment

Treatment for chlamydia is very straightforward. In some cases a single dose of an antibiotic medicine may be all that is required. More typically a seven day course of antibiotics is sufficient to treat the condition.

Mark Castle-Woodhams, October 2007