Chlamydia is an infection caused by bacteria and is passed on by having unprotected sex with someone who is already infected with it. It can affect men and women and is the most commonly reported sexually transmitted infection in the UK.
Because Chlamydia is passed on through sex, the more sexual partners that you have, the more likely you are to get Chlamydia. However, if you have unprotected sex with one person who is infected with Chlamydia, you can catch it.
Up to 10% of woman under the age of 24 are thought to be infected. For women, infection rates peak in the 16-19 years age group and for men the 20-24 years age group.
Chlamydia can be cured with a course of antibiotics but needs to be treated early before any complications develop.
The worrying thing is that, for lots of people, Chlamydia does not cause any symptoms and they do not know that they have it. Someone can have Chlamydia for months or years and not know about it. This is a problem because infection with Chlamydia can cause complications in both men and women affecting their fertility. Chlamydia is the most common preventable cause of infertility in women.
Talks are underway at the moment about the introduction of a scheme to provide routine testing for Chlamydia in the UK, like the testing for cervical cancer that we already have through smear tests.
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