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Chlamydia in heterosexual men

What is chlamydia?

  • A common sexually transmitted infection (STI) caused by the bacterium Chlamydia trachomatis.
  • About 50% of men notice burning on passing urine or a discharge from their penis.
  • But up to 50% men do not notice anything wrong – hence it is often known as a ‘silent’ infection.
  • If left untreated chlamydia may lead to infection in the epididymis (tube that carries sperm from the testes).
  • Early treatment will prevent long term problems.
  • Testing is now widely available through the National Chlamydia Screening Programme at your GP as well as at the Wolverton Centre or any sexual health clinic.
  • If you have chlamydia we recommend that you should have a full STI screen including an HIV test.

How common is chlamydia?

It is the most common bacterial STI in the UK.

  • It is found most frequently in young people under the age of 25 years – 1 in 10 will have it but most will be unaware of their infection.

How do you catch chlamydia?

Chlamydia is passed on through sex:

  • Unprotected vaginal, anal or oral sex (or sharing sex toys) with someone that has chlamydia.
  • From an infected mother to her baby at birth.
  • Sometimes from genitals to fingers to eyes where it may cause conjunctivitis (an eye infection).
  • Chlamydia cannot be caught by kissing, or from swimming pools, saunas or toilet seats.

What would I notice if I had chlamydia?

  • Up to 50% of men with chlamydia will not notice anything wrong – but they can still pass the infection on.
  • Men may notice one or more of the following:
  • A burning sensation when passing urine.
  • A desire to pass urine frequently.
  • A discharge from the tip of the penis – often clear.
  • Pain and swelling in the testicles (uncommon).

How do I get tested for chlamydia?

  • Through a urine sample – but you should have not passed urine for at least 1 hour beforehand.
  • The urine sample is sent to Kingston Hospital laboratory where a specific NAATS test for chlamydia is done. This is very accurate and will detect over 97% infections correctly.
  • Your results will be ready in 3 days. They will be sent to you via a text message or the nurse may call you.

How is chlamydia treated?

  • Chlamydia can be easily treated with antibiotics.


  • a single dose of azithromycin 1g (4 tablets)


  • A week of doxycycline  capsules 100mg  twice daily.
  • All treatments from the Wolverton Centre are free and are given to you in the clinic.
  • Both treatments are highly effective – but you need to wait 7 days before having sex again to give the azithromycin time to work.
  • We don’t normally need to do another test to check the chlamydia has gone as long as you have taken your treatment correctly.

What about my partner?

  • Chlamydia is a sexually transmitted infection so it is important that all current sexual partners either attend the Wolverton, another sexual health clinic or their GP to be tested and treated before resuming sex again.
  • Some of your previous partners may also need treatment – the nurse will advise about this.

What problems can untreated chlamydia lead to?

  • Chlamydia sometimes spreads to the epididymis (the tube that carries the sperm from the testes) causing pain in the testicle. Rarely this may affect fertility.
  • These problems can be prevented by early treatment.

Will chlamydia come back again after treatment?

  • Treatment for chlamydia always works – as long as you have taken it correctly and checked that your partner has been tested and treated too.
  • But you could catch chlamydia again so it is important to use condoms with new partners and both get tested for STIs before having sex without a condom.
  • National guidelines recommend testing:
    • annually in all sexually active men under the age of 25 years
    • in all men with a new partner
    • in all men with a penile discharge or pain on passing urine

For more information