Chlamydia in the UK

Prevalence and Treatment of Chlamydia in the UK


As the most common sexually transmitted disease, chlamydia is thought to affect about ten percent of sexually active individuals under the age of 25 in the UK. Although the most recent figures suggest that 227,000 individuals in the UK were treated for chlamydia, experts have argued that these numbers do not accurately reflect the amount of individuals in the general population who have chlamydia. This is because the number of diagnosed and treated individuals has increased in the past few years.

The main reason for lack of treatments has been due to lack of diagnoses of chlamydia, which in turn is a result of individuals not getting tested as symptoms are vague and may be dormant for a long time. Because of this a National Screening Programme has been developed in the UK. This programme aims to diagnose more individuals who may be unaware of having chlamydia.

Chlamydia Symptoms

The symptoms differ slightly between men and women. Most women do not get symptoms but when they do they tend to experience pain when urinating; changes in the colour of their vaginal secretion; mild lower abdominal pain; and some may experience irregular bleeding. 50% of men with Chlamydia tend to have symptoms such as discharge from the penis, burning sensation when urinating and painful sensations at the end of the penis. Given that these symptoms are vague, many individuals wait for them to go away on their own or assume it may be due to something else and not seek treatment relating to sexually transmitted diseases. You can read more detailed information on chlamydia symptoms here.

Accessing Testing

If you are unhappy about attending a GUM clinic then there are a number of medical testing facilities available online these days. Make sure that you are using a service that has a lab registered with Clinical Pathology Accreditation. The market leader in the area is a service known as The STI Clinic and they have a 4 hour turnaround on a Chlamydia test. We have checked the clinical pathology accreditation and they are using a highly respected lab in London. There are other services but The STI Clinic appears to have the fastest turnaround and because it is run by doctors, you can get access to treatment should you get a positive result.

Treatments for Chlamydia

Chlamydia is easy to treat with antibiotics. The type of course that is prescribed will be depending on the individuals health at the time of treatment (such as allergies or pregnancies) and whether there are problems that have been cause by a long-lasting dormant infection which also need to be treated. The types of problems that can arise depend on an individual’s gender. Women may develop pelvic inflammatory disease, vervicitis or Barthonlintis. Men may develop urethritis, epididymitis or reactive arthritis.

The two most common antibiotics that are used to treat chlamydia are azithormycin and doxycycline, with the former consisting of a single dose and the latter consisting of a week-long treatment where two tablets are taken daily. Sometimes patients may also be prescribed erythromycin or ofloxacin.

The side effects of these treatments tend not to be long-lasting and can be considered as rather mild. The most common side effects include stomach pain and diarrhoea. Among women it is worth considering additional contraception if the diarrhoea is severe.

Women who are pregnant may be recommended azithromycin or erythromycins as these are known to be harmless to use during pregnancy and breast-feeding.

Both men and women should cease joint sexual activities for a minimum of seven days after the treatment is complete between both partners, and until the symptoms are gone.

More information on treating chlamydia can be found at this website.

Following up treatments of chlamydia

Whilst antibiotics are useful to treat individual infections of chlamydia it is also recommended that individuals inform any sexual partners that may be affected, so that they can also be treated and further re-infection among regular partners can be avoided.

It is also worth following up the treatment with an additional test to ensure the chlamydia has been treated. This is particularly important for women who are pregnant, but is also advisable for individuals who did not complete their treatment according to guidelines, who engaged in sexual activity before the treatment had ceased or for individuals whose symptoms have returned.