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What is chlamydia?
Chlamydia is a common sexually transmitted infection (STIs). Anyone who is sexually active can get it and pass it on. They don’t need to have lots of sexual partners. You can read more about chlamydia here: on the Sex Wise Website.
It is very easy to treat and cure however, if left untreated, can cause painful complications and serious health problems.
The infection is highest in young sexually active women (age 15 to 24 year olds).
How is chlamydia passed on?
Chlamydia is usually passed from one person to another during sexual contact. Chlamydia is most commonly spread through: unprotected (without a condom) vaginal or anal sex, sharing sex toys that aren’t washed or covered with a new condom each time they’re used. Using condoms reduces the risk of infection.
Chlamydia can be passed from a pregnant woman to her baby during delivery.
How will I know if I have the infection?
The only way to know for certain if you have chlamydia is to have a test. You should have a test if you, or a partner, think you might have symptoms or if you’ve recently had unprotected sex with a new partner. You should also be tested if you, or a partner, have had unprotected sex with other people.
You are more likely to have chlamydia if you’re under 25, have a new sexual partner, or more than one sexual partner in the last year and if you haven’t used condoms.
What is the National Chlamydia Screening Programme (NCSP)?
You can read more about the National Chlamydia Screening Programme (NCSP) on the GOV.uk website. The programme aims to reduce the harm caused by untreated chlamydia.
The latest recommendations focus on women and encourages women (particularly those under 25) to get tested. This is because evidence shows that women and people with a vagina experience most of the harm caused by chlamydia. If left untreated it increases the risk of ill-health and infertility.
How do I get tested?
Testing is available from WISH, your GP or SH24: www.SH24.org.uk. You can order a DIY testing kit to your home, all instructions are provided. SH:24 is a free online sexual health service, delivered in partnership with the NHS. SH:24 make it easy for people to get tested for the most common sexually transmitted infections (STIs).
SH:24 provide free test kits, information and advice - 24 hours a day. It is quick, discreet and completely confidential.
WISH continue to provide testing for men and people with symptoms of STI.
*References to women throughout this document includes cisgender women, transgender men and non-binary (assigned female at birth) people who have not had hysterectomy or bilateral oophorectomy.
Why should I have an STI Test?
We recommend testing for STIs.
If you are female and not on a reliable method of contraception, you may need to consider emergency contraception. We can also offer advice and provision of contraception for your ongoing needs.
How often should you be tested?
We recommend testing for STIs each time you change your sexual partner or when there are symptoms present that may be caused by a STI.
We recommend that men who have sex with men (MSM) have annual testing.
How long after unprotected sex should I be tested?
We recommend leaving a minimum of two weeks after having unprotected sex before testing for Chlamydia and Gonorrhoea. This gives the best chance to get an accurate result. . Tests for HIV will be accurate four weeks after unprotected sex and for syphilis, it’ll be three months.
It can take up to a month for HIV to develop and up to 3 months for syphilis.
How do you test for STI?
Can I do it online if I don't want to visit?
There are alternative methods to testing in clinic. Tests kits are available online via SH24. This service can be accessed via the link on this website. www.SH24.org.uk
You can also access the National Chlamydia Screening Programme for Chlamydia and Gonorrhoea testing. www.SH24.org.uk
Can I bring a friend with me?
Yes, provided you take into account that whoever you choose to accompany you will be privy to some highly sensitive information about you. It is also a safeguarding requirement that all patients be seen alone, for at least part of the consultation. We will ask to see you by yourself at some point in the consultation.
What do you check for?
This will depend on your own personal risk factors which will be assessed during your consultation. At the end of the consultation the Health Care Practitioner will make a recommendation on what you should consider testing for. It is then your decision as to which tests you would like to undertake.
Can I have a check up on my period?
Yes we may still be able to carry out Chlamydia, Gonorrhoea, HIV and Syphilis testing. However, if you are attending because you are concerned about symptoms then we recommend you contact the clinic prior to you attending to discuss with a member of the clinical team.
How long does it take to get the results?
We ask that patients allow two weeks for all tests. Some tests take longer than this, but you will be informed by the Health Care Practitioner if this is the case.
How will I receive my results?
Normally by text message in the first instance.
If your test results are Negative you will receive a text to confirm this. Please be advised that ‘Negative’ means ‘All clear’. This will be sent to the mobile number you register with at the clinic you attend. Should your results require further action then you will be contacted either by telephone call or by text to request you make contact with the clinic to discuss further.
I have tested positive for an STI
I have tested positive for an infection - what do I do now?
You can arrange to access treatment via one of our clinics or your GP if you test positive for a sexually transmitted infection. Some treatments may only be accessible at particular clinics so it is important that you communicate the infection you require treatment for when booking the appointment.
How can I tell my partner I have an STI?
We offer a contact tracing service at all of our clinics, whereby a Health Care Practitioner will make contact with your sexual partners anonymously on your behalf. This is the preferred method of informing partners to maintain your confidentiality.
How long after treatment can I have sex again?
This is very much dependent on the STI you are undergoing treatment for. You will be advised on this by the Health Care Practitioner who treats you.
What is a PeP and how can I get it?
PEP (post-exposure prophylaxis) is a way of protecting a person from catching HIV if they may have been recently exposed to the virus. It consists of a 28 day course of tablets normally used to treat people with HIV, and needs to be started within 72 hours of the exposure taking place. It does guarantee protection but is thought to be around 80% effective. It can be obtained from Aconbury North in Worcester, the sexual health clinic at the Kidderminster Health Centre and the Arrowside Unit in Redditch during opening hours, or from Accident and Emergency departments out of hours.
What is PrEP and how can I get it?
PrEP is similar to PEP but is taken before potential exposure to HIV and is highly effective at preventing a person from catching it. PrEP is recommended for people whose sex lives place them at higher risk of acquiring HIV and can be purchased online from reliable sources. For more information visit the Terrence Higgins Trust website.
PreP is available to patients who meet the national criteria for prescription.