Chlamydia & gonorrhoea

Chlamydia & gonorrhoea

Common bacterial infections that may not cause symptoms

Chlamydia & Gonorrhoea

Chlamydia and gonorrhoea are both very common bacterial infections that are sexually transmitted and can be very easily treated with antibiotics. Often these infections can be present with no symptoms and if left untreated can cause potential long term problems affecting fertility.

Chlamydia and gonorrhoea are sexually transmitted infections (STIs) which means they can be passed on by unprotected sex (vaginal, anal or oral sex without a condom), sharing sex toys and mutual masturbation.

Chlamydia is particularly common in young people aged under 25.

It can take up to 2 weeks after sexual contact for a test to pick up these infections, this is known as the window period. We advise to screen regularly, particularly after any partner changes.


Mostly they do not cause symptoms, this means that people don’t know that they have the infection and so can pass on infection without realising.

Only about 30% of women and 50% of men do show symptoms for chlamydia and gonorrhoea and these can include:

-Pain when passing urine (burning sensation when having a pee)

-Lower abdominal pain (tummy pain)

-Pain in the testicles

-Unusual bleeding after sex or between periods

-Any unusual discharge from the vagina, penis or back passage

If you have any of these symptoms it is important to get them checked as soon as you can by visiting one of our clinics.

Untreated chlamydia can lead to painful complications for both men and women and serious health problems including infertility for women (not being able to have a baby) so it is really important to get tested if you are sexually active or have been in the past.

Self-taken samples

Testing and treatment for chlamydia and gonorrhoea is quick, easy, free & confidential.

To test for chlamydia and gonorrhoea you can take a sample yourself. If you have a penis you provide a urine sample and if you have a vagina you can take your own vaginal swab.

You will need to fill out a form with some information about yourself so that you can be contacted with your result. Most people choose to get a text message with their result.

If your result is positive (meaning that you do have the infection) you can be treated with antibiotics which will clear the infection in seven days as long as you keep to treatment.  You can get these free and confidentially from selected pharmacies or from SHAC.

– If you are over 16 you can order a home test kit for chlamydia, gonorrhoea, syphilis & HIV to be sent directly to your home. The service is confidential (which means we won’t tell anybody that you’ve requested a testing kit), discreet (we’ll send the kit to you in a plain envelope) and free. Simply follow the instructions carefully and then return the kit by post in the free-post envelope provided)

– You can also get a self-testing kit at various locations across the city

– Alternatively, please email us and we’ll do our best to assist you 

Oral sex and sexually transmitted infections

Many people believe you cannot get a sexually transmitted infection through oral sex, but it is possible. The NHS has some really helpful information about oral sex, the risk of getting and passing on STIs through oral sex, how to get tested and treated if you think you have an infection, and how to protect yourself.